FREEDOM in CHRIST
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- John 8:31-36
FREEDOM is a theme found throughout Genesis to Revelation. Just three chapters into the story of God’s creation, humanity gave up its freedom by choosing to rebel against God. From that time forward, the perfect freedom God created in the Garden of Eden was gone, and the long-term effects were both physical and spiritual.
The Old Testament records how God’s people lost their physical freedom time and again as various empires overtook them (i.e. Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, etc.) Their captivities were often tied to their spiritual disobedience like worshipping false gods. But time and again, the one true God forgave His people and rescued them. When God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He was foreshadowing the arrival of Jesus Christ, who came to free humanity from sin—the spiritual slavery that leads to death.
Today, many people are living in spiritual slavery without realizing it. They chase false gods of money, success, personal comfort and romantic love—only to realize they still have an emptiness that can’t be filled by any of those things.
The world teaches us a different version of the true nature of freedom. For many of us, freedom has become equivalent with personal independence — the ability to make our own decisions and choose our own path in life, to do whatever we want, whenever we want.
But this is not the freedom that Jesus promised us. When Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah, He said that He had come to Earth to “proclaim freedom” (Luke 4:16-20). And on another occasion, He said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Jesus was not setting us free to do whatever we wanted; He was freeing us to do what we ought to do. He was liberating us to walk in a right and fruitful relationship with God and to be the kind of people He created us to be. This spiritual freedom is what biblical freedom really is about — the ability to obey God and choose His will for our lives. And this is the freedom that sin had long denied us.
Jesus shocked the Pharisees, the spiritual leaders of His day, when He stated, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Jesus was asserting that we are all under the power and control of a natural tendency to sin; we can’t get away from it by ourselves. Sin brings a penalty that, by ourselves, we can’t escape either. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
How do we find freedom from the penalty, power and control of sin?
The core message of the Christian faith—the Gospel—is that Jesus Christ rescues us from the slavery of sin and offers true freedom in this life and beyond. The best news ever—is that faith in Jesus frees us from the death we deserve for sinning against God. It frees us from the punishment that would be inflicted upon us at the end of our lives for the evil things we’ve thought and done.
- Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but the ability to do what we ought.
- Without Christ, we are slaves to sin, unable to do what is right and held back from what we can become.
- Christ’s death on the Cross set us free from the penalty and power of sin
While we Christ-followers still battle with sin, we are no longer slaves to it. As we submit to Christ, sin loses its power — Christ’s power takes over. Through the power of Christ, we are set free from the bondage of greed, vanity, pride, pornography, addiction, abusive behaviour, gluttony, selfishness—and any other sin under the sun. As we choose to trust and follow Him, our sinful habits, thoughts and attitudes lose their hold on us.
THAT is the key to standing firm in our freedom. SUBMISSION to GOD. There is a similarity between the stories of Adam and Eve and the Parable of the Prodigal Son and it is that both the characters refused to submit their lives to divine authority. They both gave in to the deception of the enemy and the perversion of what true freedom mean. They thought. they can be their own "god" and they don't need to submit to the Father so that they can be "free" But as we know, they ended up bound by their own decision to rebel against the God-ordained authority. The Apostle Paul exhorts in Galatians 5 the key to truly living a life of freedom... a life of submission to God.. a life lived by the Spirit:
Receive and Enjoy God's Gift of Freedom through Christ
Stand Firm in this Freedom by Living in the Spirit and not giving a foothold to the enemy.
Cultivate this Freedom by submitting and yielding to God
Be a Freedom-fighter for those who are still bound by sin and the enemy.
Galatians 5:1; 13-26
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 MSG
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Questions for Discussion:
How does the world define FREEDOM and how is it different from the biblical definition of it?
What are the similarities between the story of Adam and Eve and the Parable of the Prodigal Son?
What does submission to the Father has to do with our Freedom?
How do we stand firm in our freedom in Christ? Discuss Galatians 5:13-26
What is a foothold? A stronghold? Bondage? What does Ephesians 4:26-27 mean
Based on how you understood this message, define FREEDOM.
How can we apply what we have learned here? What solid actions can we take?