Nothing thrills the heart like ‘being free’. Our own history is all about ‘freedom’. A freedom that millions round the world long for. Martin Luther King Jr., fought hard for freedom for racial equality, he was assassinated. Sir William Wallace, fought for freedom of Scotland in 1300’s. He was beheaded, drawn and quartered. Today Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and more are struggling for freedom from oppression. Freedom isn’t cheap.
Even more precious is our ‘freedom in Christ’. Being free ‘INDEED’ in Christ means, “entirely, absolutely, completely, and fully free, not partially, maybe, ‘probationally’ free… “FREE INDEED”.
Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed,” (Luke 4:18). Not ‘freedom’ from Rome! Slavery, as bad as it is, was not the focus of Jesus. The freedom Jesus came to give is spiritual freedom. Freedom from a far worse ‘master’ than man can be to someone else … sin and Satan.
Paul spoke of Jesus and said, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:7-8.
In Hebrews 2:17-18 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 17 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
In Hebrews 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Friends, FREEDOM IS NOT CHEAP!
Now, let’s look at three things regarding our freedom.
- FREE INDEED
John 8:31-36 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”What are you talking about Jesus?!” “We have never been enslaved! (I guess they forgot about Egypt, and the period of the Judges, and what about the Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Greeks, and Romans!) How could they say, they had never been slaves. But Jesus ignores this and gets to the heart of their slavery… IF YOU SERVE SIN, YOU ARE THE SLAVE OF IT. But Jesus came to set mankind free. They just couldn’t (wouldn’t) get it. Maybe this is understandable, since they felt ‘righteous’ before God anyway. So what’s with this salvation from sin. Keeping the Law was ‘their thing’. Jesus challenged this. So the message of “Repentance” went out, Lk. 3:1-3.
The fact was that they were indeed NOT FREE, they were the SLAVES OF THEIR MASTER SATAN.
- FREE FROM SIN
Paul says in Romans 6:11-12, 16-18, 20, 23.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sadly, being free from sin doesn’t interest everyone. In spite of the awful cost of Jesus dying on a Roman cross. Yet the sacrifice remains viable, and redemption, open for all who would ‘come’ to Jesus.
If we could just see the ‘sinfulness of sin’, the pain and suffering and the terrible guilt that follows. If we could just see how great His grace and forgiveness. We would run to Him. He offers FREEDOM FROM SIN.
- FREE FROM LAW
Paul says in Galatians 3:13-18
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. “
Is something wrong with law? No, because without law we don’t have guidelines, (Gal. 3:21-22), but because of Jesus, we are not saved by our ability to keep law. We are saved by faith, Gal. 3:26.
Baptism (Gal. 3:27) is an act of faith, the response of faith, which puts us into Christ.
Law provides a ‘rule of action’, ‘governs’, ‘commands’, but it does not save. Not the law’s fault, it’s good. God gave it. We just don’t obey perfectly. Since the promise to Abraham was given before the Law, it continues after the Law, above the Law, and in spite of the Law. By grace we are saved, through faith, (Eph. 2:8).
Thus we are free because of the WORK of Jesus, and with this come privileges, but we cannot and must not ignore RESPONSIBILITY. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
Let’s look at another passage. Galatians 5:1-13 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
Someone has said, “We have the freedom to give up our rights, be WE NEVER HAVE THE RIGHT TO GIVE UP OUR FREEDOM.”
Take your freedom SERIOUSLY. Guard your freedom COURAGEOUSLY. Use your freedom LOVINGLY.
We are free to:
THINK, reason, ponder
GROW, become, mature, learn from mistakes
STUDY, learn, question, be stronger
PRAY, praise, worship
CONSCIENCE, personal conviction, opinions
TRADITIONS, accept or change
CREEDS, written or unwritten, we follow Jesus.
ORGANIZE, methodology, programs
DISCIPLE, follow and serve.
We need to understand, “congregations are made up of VOLUNTARY CHRISTIANS BONDED TOGETHER” in love for Jesus and each other, AND WE ARE FREE INDEED.
A congregation in California put this in their bulletin, “Penitent, immersed believers are free to believe anything they want in their effort to grow up… As long as they don’t disturb others with it.”
In the end, love is the bond.