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Freedom and Salvation for the World

Many students of history know the famous cry of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” The notion of freedom is a bedrock of many nations, including the United States.

According to commentator James Montgomery Boice, today’s reading from Micah also includes a “list of freedoms” that only God can provide. Micah proclaims that in the last days, God will establish His temple for the whole world—the nations will stream to it. First, there will be freedom from ignorance. God will “teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths” (Micah 4:2).

Second, there will be freedom from injustice. God Himself will “judge between many peoples and will settle disputes” (Micah 4:3). Third, there will be freedom from war, as swords will be turned into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Finally, there will be freedom from fear: “Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid” (Micah 4:4).

Moving to our passage from Zechariah, we see an additional freedom: freedom from strife and division. Rather than a world divided along ethnic and national lines, Zechariah depicts a world in which people from a variety of nations come together to seek the Lord. Jew and Gentile alike will join together to “entreat the Lord” (Zech. 8:21). In many ways, that picture began to be fulfilled in Acts 2 when the disciples preached the message of Jesus to a crowd of people from various nations and languages. Ultimately, the realization of true biblical freedom will come in the end. There we will gather and praise Christ with the words of Revelation 5: “With your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” (5:9).

Apply the Word

God’s salvation is meant for the world, not just a small group of select people. Thank God for faithful missionaries taking the message of the gospel to the nations of the world. In this season of giving, ask your church what missionaries you might pray for and support financially. Then commit to do so on a regular basis.

BY Bryan Stewart

Bryan A. Stewart is associate professor of religion at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. His particular interests are the history of Christian thought and the way that early Christians interpreted the biblical canon. He is the editor of a volume on the Gospel of John in The Church’s Bible series (Eerdmans), and he has done extensive research on the ways that the early Church preached on this Gospel. He is an ordained minister. 

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