Conversation on the apostolic reading of the 4 Week on Pentecost.
In the Apostolic Conquest of the 4 Week on Pentecost, the Apostle Paul speaks of freedom. "When you were slaves of sin, then you were free from righteousness. What kind of fruit did you have then? Such deeds, which are now ashamed of yourself, because the end of them is death. But now, when you are freed from sin and become slaves to God, your fruit is holiness, and the end is eternal life "(Rom., 6: 20-22).
In our time, freedom is understood mainly as civil rights of man, as "the ability to do everything that does not harm others" (Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights, France, 1789). But the discussion of freedom only in the categories of law greatly impoverishes its meaning and significance, since it concerns exclusively external manifestations. Yes, a person has the right to freedom of the press, speech, creativity, political freedom. But, without taking into account the religious understanding of the phenomenon of freedom, we are deprived of the main - moral criteria.
For example, according to what criteria to evaluate the phrase from the Declaration of Rights: "Freedom is the right to do everything that does not harm others"? What is harmful to others, and what is not? For example, is the gay parade harmful? Of course, the Christian consciousness will say. "Do not be deceived: neither fornicators ... nor adulterers, nor malachias, nor homosexuals ... The kingdom of God will not inherit" (1 Corinth 6: 9-10). No, the secular worldview will respond, it is a normal manifestation of their sexual preferences by sex minorities.
This is what freedom means without a spiritual and moral fence! Years 7 back in Canada was such a case. The Anglican clergyman told parishioners that he wanted to change the sex. "Since we have a majority of women," he said, "I decided to become a woman." The parishioners voted in the church and decided to support the shepherd's initiative. And the women even told him: "You will now be closer to us - not only a spiritual mother, but also a girl-friend." Here it is, today's freedom.
Freedom of our time is nothing but freedom from the will of God; Freedom of the Fall, after which Adam, having experienced the evil, could no longer do good. Freedom to sin, freedom of permissiveness. The werewolf, enticing the permission of the forbidden, tempting liberalism and hiding its true face with the brand of slavery scorched on it. But flirting with sin is not in vain. Who looks into the abyss - the abyss looks into it; Who serves whom, that's the slave.
What is freedom for Christianity? This is not an idea, but an inner state - independence from passions and a stay in love. Christ places freedom deep in the heart of man and connects it with the knowledge of the truth: "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8: 32). Truth is Christ Himself (compare Jn 14: 6), and the knowledge of Truth is an increase in love for Christ.
The Lover of Christ is free in Christ, the lover of sin is enslaved to sin. There is no freedom beyond good and evil. "Where is the Spirit of the Lord, there is freedom," writes the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 3: 17). True freedom operates exclusively within the bounds of the goodness of God, because one God is absolutely free and has life in Himself. Therefore, only He gives both life and freedom.
Freedom without Christian love naturally transforms into arbitrariness and gives birth to evil, suffering, slavery. Human will can not remain neutral. By abandoning God, she will inevitably find herself in the bondage of passions and sin, and sin works only in the program of annihilation. The Tower of Babel "freedom from God" will certainly collapse.
Paradox, but the fact: it has always been hard for a person to bear his freedom given by God. The history of mankind is a multi-part film about how a person leaves the Creator to the distant side in search of other masters. It is amazing how God-given freedom is often experienced by us not as a blessing of God, but as a heavy cross, which we are trying to throw off at a convenient opportunity.
We both want, and do not want to become free. This is our condition and is said in the morning prayers: "Or I wish, save me, or I do not want, Christ my Savior." And the apostle Paul wrote: "I do not do what is good, but evil do not want to do," (Rom., 7: 19). Surprisingly, a person can combine in himself the desire for God, and the attraction to sin; the desire to be free and enslaved. The love of God and the propensity for sin, the desire for purity and contamination with vice are confused in the soul in such a knot that can be unleashed by the Lord alone, who "will be judged by the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrew 4: 12). Therefore, Christ even to the Angels forbids the separation between wheat and tares, ordering them to wait until the Last Judgment harvest (cf. 13: 30).
Brothers and sisters, we already knew one kind of freedom. This is freedom from God and His holy will. Perhaps the Apostle speaks of us all: "When you were slaves of sin, then you were free from righteousness. What fruit did you have then? Such things as are now ashamed of themselves, because the end of them is death "(Rom., 6: 20-21). Yes, this is our past. But this is what must be our present: "Now, when you are freed from sin and become slaves to God, your fruit is holiness, and the end is eternal life" (Rom., 6: 22). Let these words become the inscription on the banner of the coming victory over themselves and their passions! Such a victory will open the door to liberation from sin and for a new life with God and in God.