“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36, ESV
“Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but the ability to do what we ought” (Larry Fowler).
In our American (USA) mindset, we often confuse “Outside freedom” and “Inside freedom”. Outside freedom is what we celebrate on July 4—the right to personal independence for which our forefathers fought, often characterized by the words, “I can do what I want, when I want, and how I want.” However, that is NOT the kind of freedom Jesus is referring to in John 8. He is referring to spiritual or “inside” freedom—the ability to obey God and choose His will for our lives. Let that Freedom ring.
Romans 6:22 says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”
If you are like me, you might be wondering where this verse has been all your life! We can quote Romans 6:23 backwards and forwards, emphasizing the free gift of eternal life that God offers through Jesus Christ. But do we realize that our free gift comes by way of enslavement?
Enslavement to God is what yields a life of holiness (sanctification) and, ultimately, eternal life!
When we understand that our freedom in Christ is actually a transfer from enslavement to sin to enslavement to God. This helps us better understand verses like 1 Corinthians 6:12 and Galatians 5:13-14. The freedom Christ gives us is not a blank slate to exercise our “rights” to do whatever we want, as long as it’s not blatantly sinful. Rather, it is an invitation to serve one another in love. It is an opportunity to practice that which is beneficial to the Body of Christ. It helps us choose God’s way over our way, which sin had denied us the ability to do.
As Americans this Independence day may we reflect on our freedoms , “Outside Freedom” and “Inside Freedom”. May we take time to reflect on, and thank God for, the ultimate freedom—the freedom from sin. This freedom allows us to become MORE like our new owner, God, our Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus told us: “’If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31b-32).
Let THAT freedom ring!!
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