The Church is the Christian's Statue of Liberty       




In New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty stands as a symbol of America’s heritage of freedom.  Engraved on a tablet within the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands in New York is the famous poem of Emma Lazarus, called “The New Colossus,” which reads




Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and
her name
Mother of Exiles
. From her beacon-hand
world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The Church of Jesus Christ is a symbol of liberty and freedom, which exhibits great similarity to America’s Statue of Liberty. 

Unlike the empires of Greek and Roman fame, the products of the wisdom of man, divine wisdom has created a holy kingdom called the Church.   

The Church is a mighty woman with a torch.  She is the Mother of Exiles

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:1-2). 

"Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate Than the children of the married woman," says the LORD. "Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes.  For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited” (Isaiah 54:1-3).

Jesus declared, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). 

“But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26).

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion . . . Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). 

From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome

“. . . For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7). 

“And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). 

The church of Jesus Christ does not seek the prideful, the self-righteous, or those who trust in their wealth, education, or elite social standing.  Nor does it seek out the rich and powerful who are esteemed by the world:

“For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."  Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of GodBecause the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called . But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

The Gospel is for those who are spiritually (and often physically) tired, poor, downtrodden, oppressed, yearning for freedom, or tempest-tost by the unsatisfying solutions this world has to offer them.  They desire to be citizens of a heavenly city. 

Jesus says,  "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). 

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-29) 

The apostle Paul writes, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20). 

Jesus is the light
, and He is the door into the Church, the celestial city, the eternal home of the redeemed.   

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."” (John 8:12)

"I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:7) 

Emma Lazarus’ poem written in 1883 has much to say regarding the freedom that made America a great nation.  Interestingly, whether intentionally or not, it reflects many truths about the church of Jesus Christ.  The cross is a symbol of the Christian’s liberty.  Symbolically, it is our statue of liberty, as we contemplate what it represents—Christ’s death and resurrection, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, by which our sins have been laid upon Christ and His perfect righteousness has been transferred to us, if we have placed our faith in Him alone.  The Church is the body of Christ, and therefore this spiritual body also serves as a monument to the liberty that Christ has purchased for us at the cost of His own blood.

The Bible says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Copyright © 2010  Wabash Bible Ministries.  All rights reserved.