“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” (Luke 4:18/ Isaiah 61:1)
“31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 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?”
34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31-36)
Freedom… What an interesting term. Kids can’t wait until there 18 so that they can be free from their parents. Then, they can’t wait until they are finished with college so that they can be free to live where they want, do what they want, etc. Married people think about single life and the “freedom” to go and do as they please with no ball and chain weighing them down. Single people desperately want a spouse so that they are “free” from loneliness. Also, people fight for “rights” through legislation so that they ensure that the government protects their freedoms. We ALWAYS want more, or at least something different than what we have. We seem to always covet the grass on the other side. I think there is a commandment or two that warns against this. Even as early as Adam and Eve, the Eden that they were placed in wasn’t enough. They were convinced that they weren’t free.
We desire freedom, but we do not fully understand what freedom means. Freedom is not staying up as late as you want, doing whatever you want, or even worshipping who you want. Those are all circumstantial. True freedom is a state of being. You either are or you aren’t and there is only one way to know for sure. No law can give you freedom; no government can protect it. You are a slave if you are still under sin, or you are free if you are in Christ. The apostle Paul was freer in a Roman prison being persecuted for his faith than possibly anybody else in the history of the world. Jesus had taught him contentment.
“11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:11-13)
He was content regardless of his circumstance; he was free. Chinese Christians that meet to worship God underground to avoid being shot have a freedom that most of us may never experience. Their only protection comes from Christ. There is a much different type of dependence that leads to an amazing peace in knowing that the Creator of the universe, the savior of my soul really is my strength. This freedom goes beyond any type of persecution or even death. When we come to the point where we can state, like Paul that “…to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21) while shackled in the darkest of prisons, we too will experience that freedom.
“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.” (Galatians 5:1)
Christ’s mission by going to the cross and conquering death brings freedom. He has done the work, it is up to you to receive. No one on this earth, not even the Devil, has the power to take that freedom away from you without your permission. Don’t give it.