My country celebrates Independence Day this week. Freedom will be celebrated, and thanks will be expressed for the freedoms that we have. It is marvelous to be free to speak, free to exercise religion, free to possess weapons to defend ourselves, free to assemble, free to print things critical of the government, free to pursue life and happiness.
All our freedoms are wonderful and we ought to celebrate them. However, the Bible speaks of a better and more important freedom. Before looking at that more important freedom, we ought to first admit that only God is truly free. No one else is free to do as he/she chooses. As U.S. citizens we have some semblance of freedom, but we are not truly free to do as we please. Each of us has some restraints on our behavior. There are certain things we are not allowed to do. Furthermore, only God can declare that He is going to do a thing and be absolutely certain that He will do the thing. The rest of us cannot be certain that we will be able to do any single thing we set out to do, no matter how small a thing it might be. Death or circumstances might prevent us from completing the smallest of tasks. Thus, only God is truly free to do what He pleases.
Romans 8:1-3 has a word for every member of the human race, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin.” (NASU) Because Christ lived a perfect life without sin, those who trust in Him are free from the penalty incurred by sin. It is a wonderful thing to be freed from that terrible penalty.
Jesus has a word for those who believe in Him, John 8:31-37, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (NASU) Sin may involve a fleeting pleasure but it always becomes a terrible and tyrannical master. Those who look to Christ, moving forward in the knowledge of Him, will be freed from bondage of sin.
Revelation 21:3-4 speaks of yet another freedom, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.” (NASU) One day, all who have trusted Christ will be freed from the very presence of sin. All the vestiges of sin will be wiped away. Sin is the cause of pain, suffering, and death. Freedom from the penalty of sin, freedom from bondage to sin, and freedom from the very presence of sin equals real, true, everlasting freedom.
STEVE ELLISON is director of Ouachita Baptist Camp in Arkansas. You may contact him at email@example.com.