Set Free Indeed

Set Free Indeed

by George Lawson, Colton, Calif.

Psalm 119:45

 

In America, early July is a time of reflection on our nation’s beginnings. We hear a lot about freedom and living in a country where we are free to choose and free to speak. We are free to go where we want, free to worship or not worship, and free to decide many things for ourselves.

At the close of an important speech to Congress on January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt shared his vision of the kind of world he wanted to see after the war in Europe was over.

He spoke of four basic freedoms which should be enjoyed by all people: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Freedom has been a part of our thinking throughout history.

Some think lack of freedom is the essence of Christianity. They picture God sitting up in heaven on His throne issuing rules like a trial judge—“Do this! Don’t do that! And don’t you dare have any fun!”

What a tragedy! God is all about freedom. In fact, it’s only through Him that we can experience real freedom!

Consider two statements in Psalm 119—

“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” (v. 32, NIV)

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” (v. 45, NIV)

 

Both of these two statements connect freedom with God’s Holy Word. One says that because we are free, we are able to keep the commands of God. The other says that since we seek out the precepts of the Scriptures, we are able to live in freedom. Freedom and the Word go hand in hand.

We certainly know people who consider the Bible as restrictive. They reason that if they were to really follow it then they wouldn’t be free to do what they and their friends want to do. But is freedom from God and His Word really freedom? Not at all! Do you know what Jesus called that? Slavery.

In John 8, he contrasts true freedom from the slavery of rejecting God’s Word—

       “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?’” (John 8:31-33)

 

Jesus’ listeners totally understood where He was heading with the discussion. They bristled at the suggestion that they were slaves to anyone. Politically, and spiritually, they prided themselves for being fiercely independent.

But Jesus then went on to explain how they were really slaves.

       “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, 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 8:34-36)

 

So what is this freedom we’re talking about?

I believe it goes beyond the freedom to attend church or not attend. It goes beyond our freedom to read the Bible, to choose the denomination we prefer, and to speak out about our faith. When Jesus sets us free, it makes such an impact on our personal lives that we are “free indeed” to live overcoming, productive lives.

The story is told about a covey of quail at a little village farmer’s market, walking in circles around a pole. They had strings attached to their legs, and they continued to walk around and around the pole hour after hour. A man came into the market and asked, “How much will you take for all of them?”

He paid the owner the agreed-upon price and then began to cut the strings off of their legs.

“What are you doing?” the salesman asked in unbelief.

“I paid for them, and I’m setting them free,” said the new owner.

But in spite of the strings being cut—giving the quail their freedom—they continued to walk around the pole in the same old circle. Until they were finally shooed away, they didn’t even realize that they were free and that they could go in a different direction.

What does this freedom include? Here are just three of those freedoms:

 

1. Freedom from the Guilt of Sin

A gentleman wrote the IRS: “Enclosed you will find a money order for $150. I cheated on my income tax return last year and have not been able to sleep ever since. If I still have trouble sleeping I will send you the rest. Sincerely, A Taxpayer”

God’s Word says we can do something about true guilt. We go to Jesus and simply say, “I’m guilty. I’ve sinned. Forgive me.”

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

2. Freedom from the Consequences of Sin

Sin has consequences. Most of the time we can’t go back and erase the results of our actions. Sometimes we can’t repair the damage done in relationships. Sometimes we can’t just “fix” things because sin has consequences. But thank God we can be free of the final consequences of sin.

Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Galatians 5:1 tells us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

 

3. The Freedom to Be All that God Wants You to Be

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want just a life… I want this abundant life!

What is the truth? Scripture tells us that Jesus himself is the Truth that sets us free. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

He didn’t say, I HAVE the Truth or I KNOW the Truth… but rather I AM the Truth.

 

Jesus frees us to BE all that God wants us to be. Through His Word we can begin to experience a new life because of His guidance and direction in our everyday lives.

Of course, the world has never achieved Roosevelt’s dream. Even if it had, we would still need another freedom the President didn’t mention: Freedom from Ourselves and the tyranny of our sinful nature.

And God’s Word says that this kind of freedom is only available through Jesus Christ. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

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