Liberty

by Louis Pernot

 

translation Louise Thunin

 

Liberty : we like this word. We defend it. We want to make a principle of it.

We are free in our faith, free from traditional forms of belief, from dogma,

from church constraints, free even in our interpretation of the Gospel.

But this freedom is not simple and we see a good many people who come to us, attracted by this libertarian message, yet who do not remain, because there is something unsettling about it. Accepting freedom requires strength and independence. And many people are seeking simple answers and a more or less conventional practice that they can follow in order to feel secure ; they are seeking well-worn paths that they can travel without question. Telling a seeker that it’s up to him to choose his road, to be responsible for his own practice and to find his own answers can be discouraging or scary.

Acting in this way would amount to staying stuck in a conception of liberty as a mere method. And we are not dealing here with works but with grace. Liberty is more than this. It is also the very object of our faith.

It is even one of the main goals of the Good News, and we need to bring it up to the surface, because it has a tendency to disappear beneath words whose meaning has been lost. We praise Christ our « redeemer », but how many people know that « redeemer » means « liberator » ? And to say that Christ was offered « as a ransom for many » means nothing unless we know that in Hebrew, there is only one word for « redeem », « to pay a ransom » and to « liberate », with or without a price. In the New Covenant, we are in the reign of grace and thus of

gratuity. Therefore, the good news is that Christ frees us. In him, we are freed from the guilt of sin, freed from sadness, freed from fear and freed from death.

Liberty therefore is more than a principle. It is all we believe in, it is what we want to experience, it is what we aspire to, and what God gives abundantly in our hearts through Christ.

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À propos Gilles

a été pasteur à Amsterdam et en Région parisienne. Il s’est toujours intéressé à la présence de l’Évangile aux marges de l’Église. Il anime depuis 17 ans le site Internet Protestants dans la ville.

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