“Give me liberty, or give me death!” –Patrick Henry
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.-2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV
Few, if any middle school students have never heard of the famous speech given by Patrick Henry at the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia. Fearful of coming under the dominion of Great Britain once again, Henry’s speech was an impassioned plea for the formulation of a militia for the 13 colonies. Historians claim the speech, and the last line in particular, was so heartfelt the convention attendees sat in utter silence for minutes after the address ended.
Henry prevailed. The militia was formed, and the Revolutionary War began soon after. The colonists won the war, and a little over two years after Henry’s speech, the Declaration of Independence was ratified on July 4, 1776. Those 13 fledgling colonies eventually evolved into what is now the modern-day United States of America.
Though Patrick Henry’s passion and desire for liberty from Britain’s domination was noble and indeed changed the course of history, it wasn’t enough. What good is physical liberty without spiritual liberty? How can you truly experience freedom if your soul is bound, and you are “in the snare of the devil,” and “held captive of him by his will?” (2 Timothy 2:26)
The liberty Henry desired was merely physical and political in nature. And you know what? The Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ day held a view similar to Patrick Henry’s. Those Jewish leaders, proud of their heritage, claimed kinship to Abraham’s lineage granted them freedom (even though they were under subjection to Roman rule). Just as Henry’s desire for freedom was notable, so was being a direct relative of Abraham, the Father of Faith. Nevertheless, neither of those statuses provided true liberty – the liberty that only results from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ!
The spiritual liberty we enjoy through Jesus supersedes “freedom” of any other kind. The liberty provided by the Holy Spirit is eternal. Through Christ, we are “free indeed” (John 8:36). Let’s take liberty in the Spirit – it’s the only kind worth having!