“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Many people who live in America consider themselves free. What exactly does “free” mean in the context of life in America? What does “free indeed” words from the Gospel of John really refer to in anyone’s life? Can the “free indeed” of John speak of a Christian in North Korea, just as much as a Christian in North America? Would you think of yourself as “free indeed” if you lived in North Korea? Paul begins Galatians 5, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” And he goes on to say later in the chapter, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
There certainly appears to be different expressions of “freedom” within the contexts of our lives. What do we prize as the freedom most desired and loved? Political or spiritual? Freedom to indulge the flesh, or freedom to obey God’s Word? Freedom from personal fears? Freedom from emotional crises? Freedom from rejection? Freedom from poverty? Freedom to be who we believe we are or have been made to be? Just what freedom should you pursue? What freedom would truly satisfy your heart? What type of freedom would make you honestly feel, “Now I am truly free!”?
I think you know that as wonderful as political freedom is, such freedom does not remove all fears. It doesn’t remove feelings of guilt. You still have concerns that weigh on you. Your mind is not free from the burdens of conscience or fears of one sort or another. Does God offer such personal freedom? Does the Bible set forth a promise of freedom from any and all fears and concerns about normal life? Can he who believes in the Son truly expect to be set free in such a way that he or she can bask in this supernatural freedom which places your cares in the arms of your Savior? Is this the promise of John 8:36?
What is it that truly imprisons you? Is it not the personal sin which has a grip on your flesh? Sin is the cause of what you do and think which produces guilt, even a sense of burden coming from unconscious guilt. Sin produces fear of the loss of your well-being. Sin instigates the pursuit of things/actions sought for the purpose of escaping your fears; despite the actual result of increasing them. Paul speaks of the war within the believer: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out…So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7) We cry out for freedom from the sin that wars within us; from what sin incites in us, and from the guilt which results. This is a freedom only Jesus can give us. It is a freedom our soul craves.
Freedom from sin and its guilt, freedom from fear of loss of well-being, freedom from the judgment of the Righteous Judge of all, freedom from the fear of punishment, these constitute a true freedom which goes beyond political freedom, and is available wherever you live on the earth. You need such freedom for a true sense of well-being; a freedom surpassing all concerns and fears, even the fears of fatal disease. This is the unsurpassed freedom which Christ offers to His own. It is the freedom your soul craves. It rejoices even when jail bars, real or circumstantial, surround. To live free when fears arise, when physical health fails, when Satan attempts to raise your blood pressure, as all around threats advance, this is a freedom which basks in the protection of an indefatigable Savior, who will not disappoint.
Such freedom is graciously offered to you in Christ. Too few avail themselves of it. Faith must take hold (forcefully, violently) of such offered freedom, and faith must sustain it. Take a hard look at your soul environment and its genuine sense of freedom. If anxious fears define your soul-environment, you simply do not trust His promises. You can experience freedom by faith. “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) For freedom in Christ is the absence of fear.
“Thou hidden source of calm repose, thou all-sufficient love divine, my help and refuge from my foes, secure I am if thou art mine: and lo! From sin and grief and shame I hide me Jesus, in thy name.”
(1st verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose”, 1749)
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