By Mickey McCall

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. “

2 Corinthians 3:17

On the 4th of July, my family and I were vacationing in Colonial Williamsburg and were given the opportunity to see many celebrations of our country’s birth. There were festivities, music, readings of the Declaration of Independence and many other events to commemorate the 4th. Most impressive to me was the marching of the fife and drum corps down main street toward the courthouse. The sound of the two instruments together made me want to jump in line and march with them, to take up my own drum or fife. The 4th of July is a date we, as Americans, set aside to commemorate our nation’s independence from the tyranny of King George III of Great Britain. In the midst of all this celebrating, pomp and pageantry, I was reminded of something that happens in the lives of Christians.

We are set free with liberty.

We, who were once slaves to self and sin, are now set free from the bonds that held us so tightly. Instead of a covetous heart that only looks out for ourselves, we are now capable of loving others as Christ loves us. He gave Himself up and died for us. We can now lay down our own lives in service to the one who died for us.  What we are NOT set free to do is sin. It is ridiculous to believe that the very thing you are being set free from is the thing you would then continue to serve. It would be like the United States declaring itself free from the rule of Great Britain, and continuing to serve the King of Great Britain as if nothing had changed. That would be preposterous, and yet some people believe this lie.

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1-3

If you have died to sin, you will no longer look to it for life.  We have been set free from sin to do good works — works the Father ordained that we do from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 2:10). Now we are fellow citizens of a Kingdom not made with hands. We are set free from the tyranny of sin and brought into a better kingdom with much better promises. After all, the promises of the government of sin are death and punishment, but the promises of the heavenly kingdom are life and peace.

The fife and drum corps picture a properly functioning church. With the corps as with any marching band, it is very important to keep in step with each other and follow the conductor (the guy with the big scepter). The church has a conductor — His name is Jesus (the one with The scepter). The church is called to keep in step with the spirit of Christ (Gal. 5:25). Paul says we do this by not becoming conceited, provoking or envying each other. Imagine the confusion if a band member decided he was better off marching to his own beat rather than that of the rest of the band, or if he started playing a different tune in the middle of a song. The church can appear like this when we become conceited, puffed up and proud. The leaven of hypocrisy quickly leavens the whole lump. We were not called to toot our own horn but to be a functioning body part that knows its role. That is what walking in liberty looks like.