The Oxford Dictionary defines freedom as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants, or the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. To be free suggests one is unhindered, like a river that flows from the mountains to the sea with no constraint. We understand what it means to be imprisoned, or enslaved, but do we understand what it means to be truly free? When we say we are free, what are we free to do? Are we free to do whatever we want to do? What does the Bible say?
John 8:32, 34, 36 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Jesus answered them ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Whosoever commiteth sin, is the servant of sin. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Romans 6:6, 22 – Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
1 Corinthians 6:12 – All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
1 Peter 2:16 – As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
1 Corinthians 7:22 – For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.
Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
1 Corinthians 9:19 – For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
2 Thessalonians 3:1 – Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
Galatians 5: 13-18 – For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
My understanding of Scripture is that unless we are born again, as Christ said to Nicodemus, and receive the Holy Spirit, we can never be free. Once we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we are liberated from sin, but what we do with that freedom depends on us. God has given us the freedom of choice, but with that freedom comes responsibility. So, as we walk by the Spirit of God, we depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us, not because we have to, but because we want to so do. We can do all things but we choose to serve, to do good, to care, to have compassion, and God gives us the will and grace and ability to do so. As we walk by His Spirit in liberty, we find that the yoke of bondage that sin had on our lives is loosed bit by bit. It is a process, just like the man freed from prison has to learn what to do with his freedom so as not to be imprisoned again, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth so that we can glorify God in all we say and do.
Oh, but I do hear your question – “What if after being free I encounter opposition”? That, my friend, is a question for another article as my space here is finished. Let us pray: Dear God, thank you that freedom has come. Thank you for finding a way to bring freedom to men and women who became shackled to sin and lost everything. Thank you that even as we became more and more wicked, as sin dug deeper into our hearts, that You walked among us and gave us the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our Lord Jesus Christ. Dear Lord, thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit, to help us understand the freedom that has come and how to walk in it. Dear Holy Spirit, wherever we are along the path of life, help us to find the Way. Help us avoid the entrapment of sin that so easily besets us and guide us in our faith walk so we can glorify God, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.