“The people are informed that, in accordance with the proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free!”19th

On this day, June 19th, 1865 (2 1/2 years AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation) Major General George Granger rode into Galveston, Texas. By executive order, his first order of business was to declare the news that, “ALL SLAVES ARE FREE!” Imagine for a moment how it would’ve felt as a slave to hear those words…YOU ARE FREE! What would your first emotion be?
Shock?
Skepticism?… Is this for real?
Jubilation?
Frustration?… Why didn’t someone tell ME?
Fear?… What do I do now?
Or ALL of the above?
I can’t fathom how they must have felt.

Although in 2014, it’s hard to imagine what that was like naturally, I think we can all identify with that reality spiritually. The truth is, over 2000 years ago Jesus hung on the cross and cried, “IT IS FINISHED” — the spiritual Emancipation Proclamation over ALL humanity! However, today many still live in slavery–not a physical slavery, but a spiritual and emotional one (John 8:34). Enslaved to the more obvious trappings of “sin” (pornography, alcohol, drugs, etc.), but how about the less obvious like unforgiveness, bitterness, fear, rejection, or even performance. They haven’t had “their” General Granger declare to them ALL SLAVES ARE FREE! Or perhaps they have heard the news, but thought it “too good to be true.” That’s what the gospel really is… “the almost too good to be true news.” Or maybe they believe it, but just aren’t sure how to “live in it.” Many slaves were reported simply to put down their farm implements, take off their slaves rags and walk off the plantation. I LOVE that picture! As a new believer, we can put down our slave tools, throw off our slave clothes, and be FREE! But the story didn’t (and doesn’t still) end there. The reality for some was, they needed help: training, support, education, in order to walk out that freedom. You see, there is a BIG difference between legal (positional) truth and vital (experiential) truth. Legally, the slaves were free BEFORE they even got the news… they just didn’t “know” it. However, the initial “knowing” was not the end, but a beginning. Now they needed to learn how to LIVE as free men and women…and that was most certainly a process.

Today, of all days, I want to declare to you… ALL SLAVES ARE FREE! And whom the Son has set free is free INDEED! (John 8:36). If that is your first or millionth time to hear it… receive it today! Just a few verses before that in John 8:32, Jesus tells the disciples that “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” The word in Greek for “know” is gnosko, it’s not merely a one-time knowledge, but rather is progressive and relational. It denotes a process. In other words, the more intimately acquainted with TRUTH you become, the “more free” you become. This is why we at The Bridge (and the O2 network) are committed to the process of “KNOWING, GROWING, and GOING.” The more we gnosko (know) the truth of our freedom, the more we will GROW in that freedom, and the more we can therefore GO (walk) out that freedom for others to follow.

The last few years we have put almost 300 people through LTS (Life Training School), helping them learn how to LIVE in the freedom they possess in Christ. The results have been remarkable. That is why we “do” Life Classes, Bible School, seminars, and even Life groups… to help people learn how to walk out their freedom. If you are a part of a Life-giving church, I’m sure they are doing the same thing (and if you are not part of a life-giving church…find one!). Get connected and learn how to live out your freedom.

Happy Juneteenth! Celebrate freedom today (and EVERY day)–naturally and spiritually!

 

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Duane White

Lead Pastor at The Bridge Church
Connecting People To Life around the world through The Bridge Church, Beyond These Shores, and the O2 Network.