I still remember the first time I got in trouble during grade school. I had to sit out the entire recess. It was quite a traumatic experience for a second grader! I sat quietly and watched in agony as all the other kids roamed freely around the playground. And there I was, stuck at a picnic table next to the teacher.
What about you? When was the last time your freedom was taken from you? Maybe it was something as silly as a missed recess period or maybe it was something much more serious. Sadly, our culture today often views the Christian life in the same way: we would have all the freedom in the world if it weren't for the demanding claims of Christ on our lives that shackle us and rob us of independence.
“The Truth Will Set You Free”
In John 8, Jesus radically transforms our view of freedom. He says, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Rather than responding with joy, Jesus' listeners are outraged because Jesus is pointing out a harsh truth they do not want to believe: they are enslaved to sin and need to be freed.
Without Christ, so it is with us. We are constantly bombarded with so many things in this world that falsely promise freedom, and we often believe the lies. What is the one thing in the world that, if you lost it, would devastate you beyond repair? Is it the control you feel you have over your job or school work? Is it the high opinion others have of you? Is it your sex life? Your resume? Your financial security? All of these things offer an enticing "freedom" because they make us feel so in control of our lives. Ironically, our reliance on these things for ultimate joy and security (even reliance upon good things!) proves that we are not independent of them. Rather, we are enslaved to them.
How does the truth set us free? The truth is this: Christ is unlike anything this world can offer. Submitting to Him as master is true freedom. Rather than being enslaved to the evil task masters of this world that promise freedom but will undoubtedly fail us, being "enslaved" to Christ, the loving master who will never fail us, brings us true freedom because of the certainty of the person and work of Christ.
The Free Gift of Eternal Life
Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Look at the three parallels in this verse:
Why are “sin” and “God” parallel in the verse? Because those are our two choices of master to serve. Sin (in Romans 6:23) is not just an action we do; sin is a master, and this master, for all of our efforts, pays wages. However, when sin's followers receive the paycheck they have earned for all their labor, they will be disappointed to receive a payment not of money, reward, or freedom, but of death. What a deceitful master sin is!
God, on the other hand, is a truly loving master. He doesn't make us earn wages through the things we do. He provides a free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus, not through anything we've done, but through what Christ has done for us on the cross. What great freedom it is to not work for wages, but to rest in the person of Christ, who on the cross cried "It is finished." What an amazing master God is, who gives true freedom to his people through his Son!
- Think about the things in your life Christ is not master of. What would it look like for you to give those things to the loving Master? Do you truly believe that giving God control over those things in your life would be true freedom?
- Who is your master? You cannot serve two masters. Is sin your master, as your resist God and the truth of Scripture in your life? Or is God your master, as you fight against sin in your life?
- Don't fall for the world's lies about freedom. Every day, we are bombarded with the lie that sin is the master that gives freedom. Read the truth of God's Word and remind yourself that a life in submission to God is a life of freedom.