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. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me,because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”
(John 8:31-38 NIV)
Jesus is having a discussion with the Pharisees in the temple. The Pharisees wanted to pick a fight with Jesus about His authority to teach and minister. In short, they were jealous of the following He was gathering, as He honored the Bible, but did not follow all their man-made extra rules.
In verse 32, Jesus offered them truth, which in turn would set them free from the power and penalty of sin.
In verse 33, the Pharisees replied that they had never been slaves of anyone.
Ummm, excuse me? How would the Pharisees classify their time in Egypt, before they were led out and given the Promised Land? And what about the Romans having control over Israel at that time? And what about all the occupations of Israel by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and all the others in between?
But that was just their physical captivity that the Pharisees yearned to be released from. What Jesus offered them (and us) was (and is) so much more – and lasts for all eternity. In this life, Jesus offers us freedom from the penalty and power of sin. In the life to come (eternity in Heaven), He offers us freedom from the very presence of sin in our lives.
Paul, in writing to the church in Galatia, reminds them that they are no longer under the Jewish laws, but under God’s grace through Jesus Christ:
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 NIV)
So what does our freedom in Christ look like, in practical terms?
We are free from:
- and so much more
We are free to:
- Love God
- Receive God’s love
- Live for Christ
- Love who God made us to be
- Love others
- Step into our identity and calling in Christ
- Ask forgiveness
- Encourage and bless others
- Experience joy as we follow Christ and obey His teachings
- and so much more
Truly, we are made for freedom, not as man defines it, but as God defines it.
Is the Lord prompting you about your freedoms (either freedom from or freedom to) today?