Free at Last
Pastor Steve N. Wagers
July 4. 2010
At Abraham Lincoln's 2nd inaugural address, shortly before his assassination in 1865, he spoke of how both parties deprecated war, and yet war came. He stated, "Neither party expected the way, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Each looked for an easier triumph. Both read the same Bible, and prayed to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other."
And with that, Lincoln let his own feelings show through as he spoke of how strange it was, "that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces."
Ultimately, the black slaves were set free. Theoretically, it became legal as early as the first day of the year, 1863, in what has come to be known as the Emancipation Proclamation.
The word spread from Capitol Hill down into the valleys of Virginia, and the Carolinas, and evens into the plantations of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. The headlines read, 'Slavery Legally Abolished!'
However, the greater majority of slaves, in the South, went right on living as though there had been no emancipation. They went on living like they had never been set free.
How tragic. A war was being fought. A document had been signed. Slaves were legally set free. The word is emancipation. And yet most continued to live out their years without knowing anything about it. They had chosen to remain slaves, though they were legally free.
Even though emancipated, they kept serving the same master throughout their lives.
IT'S ONE THING FOR THERE TO BE FREEDOM
IT'S ANOTHER THING TO ACTUALLY LIVE FREEDOM
John 8 has been referred to as the chapter of contrasts and conflicts.
Grace vs. Law (vv. 1-11)
Light vs. Darkness (vv. 12-20)
Life vs. Death (vv. 21-30)
Freedom vs. Bondage. (vv. 31-47)
The TRADITION that DISCARD Freedom
Pharisees hold on tradition kept them from embracing truth.
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