Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Living Up to the Price? by Phil Ware Revised by Michael Marohn

Many eruptions of violence over the last several days and weeks were targeted at Iraqi citizens to keep them from voting, at U.S. soldiers to harm and discourage them, at Iraqi political candidates to eliminate them, and at newly trained policemen to intimidate them with the threat of death. These violent events are powerful reminders of the high cost often paid for freedom and the right to have one's vote count -- whether the vote occurred in Iraq on Sunday or in your corner of the globe on any other election day. (The joy of having a blue or purple finger that showed that an Iraqi voted Sunday was proof that millions of them considered their freedom to vote was worth risking their lives!)
Freedom has nearly always been purchased at a very high price. It is often even more costly to maintain. Even when freedom has been purchased, there is no assurance that those who have been blessed to receive it will make their hard-won freedom -- their "vote" so to speak -- truly count. The bloody events and the tremendously high cost paid to ensure yesterday's election in Iraq serves as a bold and inescapable reminder of this ongoing challenge.

As disciples of Jesus, we too have been given freedom. It is a freedom purchased at an unbelievably high cost. God himself paid the price for our freedom. It was won through the sacrifice of his Son who came to earth, lived his life of service, and suffered a death of ridicule and shame as a sacrifice to ransom and free us from sin and death. He purchased our freedom for us!

And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:17-21 NKJ)

Is such a high price for the freedom to vote in Iraq worth the cost? Are those who receive such costly freedom worthy of what they have been given through the sacrifice of others? These are very real and very hard questions. These questions will rest especially heavy on the hearts of those who have lost someone close to them who has paid this cost. While our hearts break for them and for their loss, we also pray that the price their loved ones paid for this freedom will not be wasted. We pray that true freedom and peace can come because of that sacrifice. Our hope is that an even greater freedom for all the world's people can be achieved through the peace we hope their sacrifice will ultimately help achieve.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle--I am speaking the truth in Christ[a] and not lying--a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-7)

Their price, their agony, and their sacrifice should make all of us think deeply about those same questions regarding the sacrifice that Jesus made for our eternal spiritual freedom. Was the high price Jesus paid for our freedom worth the cost? Are we really worthy of the sacrifice he made to purchase our freedom?

With such a high price paid for us, we must ask ourselves, "Am I living in such a way to make my life and my influence count, or am I squandering and wasting my freedom on what is worthless, destructive, and vain?"

Let's never be guilty of ingratitude or irresponsibility for the opportunity to be free from the power of sin and death bought for us by the blood of Jesus. May we demonstrate our joy for being given this freedom as openly as many of those who risked their lives to vote yesterday displayed in showing us their ink-stained finger to show they had exercised their freedom to vote!

We should be proud that not only we can vote but we have a choice and that we have hope of eternal life. The ransomed of sin was paid for all. Just like freedom it wasn’t meant to be for a select group of people but for everyone everywhere. There is the choice though you either do what is right in order to save your soul, or you do what is wrong which includes not doing anything at all. Why do you wait? If you are waiting for a sign you’re going to be waiting to long, because that will be when the Lord shall come, and then it will be too late.

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