“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8.31-32
What does Freedom mean?
The definition of freedom is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” It is defined as the absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government or the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
Examples of Freedom
So, examples of freedom could be an animal that is let out of a cage or the right of a citizen to express their ideas and opinions. Another example is when the American colonies broke from the subjection of the British Empire declaring their independence during the revolution on July 4, 1776. Still another is the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 that declared “that all persons held as slaves are henceforward shall be free.”
The latter example is probably closer to the meaning of what freedom means for the Christian. For the Christian, freedom means, not being imprisoned or enslaved to sin and death. For instance, the Apostle Paul states:
“knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” – Romans 6.6.7
Or again Paul continues…
“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.” – Romans 6.8-9
Summation of Freedom
From these and other scriptures we learn that one is not free spiritually when they are subjected to the power and authority of sin and death. Thus, when a person enters into a covenant relationship with Christ, Jesus paid for their freedom with His blood on the cross and by rising again. Meaning this, Jesus’ death and resurrection freed Christians from sin and death. This is what it means to be free in Christ. Sin and death no longer have power over the one for whom Christ died.
Therefore as Paul states later in Romans…
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” – Romans 8.1-2
Before we entered into a covenant relationship with Christ or even before Christ died and rose again, sin and death were the masters over the human soul. When the first Adam became a living soul, he sinned. Instead of God being his master, because of sin, man became enslaved to sin. Subjected not only to its fleshing desires but allowing it to master the way one thinks, feels, and acts. Not only was man subjected to the fleshly enslavement of sin, but because of sin, death also became a master over man. This was the curse from the garden when God told Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. By doing so would introduce sin and death into humanity and thus throughout history mankind would continually be enslaved to both.
Concerning this, Paul writes…
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” – Romans 5.12-14
But praise be to Christ, the new Adam, Who became our new Master because of His own righteousness, His death and resurrection became not a type of emancipation for those who believe, but something greater.
While Adam’s act renders us as slaves to sin, Christ’s act of obedience accounted to us “righteousness” that has been imputed to us through faith in Him alone. Thus, freeing us from the power and sting of sin and death.
Because of this, Christ now becomes our new master. Not a master of the burden of death, but of life. Therefore we are not to live for sin, but live as servants of God (1 Peter 2.16).
What Christian Freedom Looks Like?
Christian freedom then looks like this:
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right” – 1 Peter 2.13-14
Notice in these two verses that freedom does not mean that you are entitled to anything. It means to be submissive, not only to Christ but also to those He sovereignly places in authority over us.
This is current today because there are many who feel their rights are being infringed upon or lack rights. This is contrary to biblical freedom because this world is not our home. As Christians, we are aliens in this world. So then, it makes sense that our freedom in Christ goes against the norm of culture, thus, creating tension in what we feel should be inalienable rights, when in fact we have no rights other than what we have in Christ alone.
When Jesus was being interviewed by Pilate before His crucifixion, Jesus was not concerned about the Roman powers because He knew His kingdom was not of this world. The Apostles and early Christians realized this same principle. Our freedom in Christ goes beyond any human institution because it is first from heaven. Therefore, we can act as free men no matter where we may reside on this planet because our home and kingdom are not of this world. That is why Paul could be free even though he was imprisoned in Rome for the sake of Christ.
So then, How should we act? Peter goes on to explain…
“Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.” – 1 Peter 2.16
How do we do this?
“Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. – 1 Peter 2.17
What is the reward for obedience?
“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.” – 1 Peter 2.20
What is the point of all this? The point is not finding favor within ourselves but finding favor with God. Living our lives as holy sacrifices unto the Lord so that we may find favor with Him. Not because we have earned or deserved anything. He alone has called us out of the darkness. Freed us from the enslavement of sin and death, by His own love, by His own power, through His only Son, Christ Jesus our Lord.
He chose us as one race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession. Why? “So that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” – 1 Peter 2.9
The Truth that Makes You Free
Now back to our opening verse. A true disciple of Christ is one who abides in His word. When we submit and delight ourselves in His word, His Spirit reveals to us His truth. It is in knowing this truth that you makes you free.
What is this truth? The truth that we are speaking of is that Jesus is the son of the living God.
In writing his gospel, John makes a very clear statement concerning this truth when he writes…
“but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” – John 20.31
When you know this truth, you will be free indeed. You are no longer condemned as a sinner and a slave because you are now in Christ Jesus (Romans 8.1).
I believe it is important for us all to know and understand the significance of this truth. The liberties that we have enjoyed in this country as Christians have been abnormal when compared to the rest of the global culture and history. I feel Christians tend to have an entitlement ideology that guides their walk. Christian freedom is not an entitlement. It is a joyful sacrifice of a life that seeks to live for Christ in such a way that pleases God.
The sufferings we face today are not to be compared with the glory that awaits us in Christ (Romans 8.18). We have a victory that awaits us. We have a hope we should eagerly look to. Live in the freedom in knowing that there awaits for you a prize in the upward call of Christ.
Rest in this truth. Be free in this truth. Trust in this truth. Know that because of Christ you are free and if He makes you free, you are free indeed.
Grace and Peace! Gt