Nelson Mandela: Freedom through Sonship
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. ~Galatians 5:1 (ESV)
For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. ~ Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela certainly knew something about the weight of chains and the joys of freedom. He was unjustly condemned to spend his life behind bars for being a political dissident against the state. While he was imprisoned as political prisoner for rebelling against apartheid, and following his release from Victor Verster Prison in 1990, Mandela made it his mission and his country’s purpose to set other men free by harnessing the promise of goodness and forgiveness.
As Mandela sat in prison his mind was free even though his body was bound. He was liberated by the knowledge that he was a son of South Africa. Regardless of what the law and the ruling class said, he was confident in his identity. He would not submit to the yoke of oppression. In April 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa. Not only was he the country’s first black president, he governed from his core belief that none of South Africa’s sons and daughters should be excluded. His obedience to the resoluteness of his identity manifested in a freedom that overflowed so as to say “if you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” He made his enemies his partners. He used forgiveness as a balm to begin to heal a nation’s deep wounds.
Mandela is a modern example of allowing our identity to break every chain that holds us back from the freedom God has in store for us. In Galatians chapters 4 and 5, Paul, too, urges us to walk boldly into freedom because of the Sonship we are offered by God via our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been justified by Christ. But if we are still striving to find our justification through the law then we are alienated from Christ and fallen away from grace (Galatians 5:4). We’ve missed it. We’re still in our chains and we can’t free ourselves or anyone else. We are like a man locked in the prison with no justice and no hope.
But Praise the Lord we are Kingdom Men! We know our identity! We are Free! We are Sons!
Today’s Training: Do you believe that? Do you believe (at your core) that you are a Kingdom Man and a Son? Or is that a struggle for you? Be honest. There are days when it is a struggle for me. As Paul says in Galatians 5:7 “ You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from knowing the truth?” Sometimes it’s easier to see the truth in others than it is in ourselves. Tell a brother the truth about his Sonship. Then let him speak the same freedom into your life.
“Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement” – Nelson Mandela.