True Freedom (John 8:31-36)
When we listed things that people desire, freedom was
mentioned. Freedom may be defined as the state
of not being constrained, afflicted, controlled, dominated, oppressed,
enslaved or imprisoned.
Freedom in General
Freedom can refer to release or separation from any
constraining, restricting or undesirable condition or situation.
This would include freedom from slavery, prison or oppressive forces.
It could also include freedom from illness, difficulty, trouble,
financial debt, obligation, etc.
Freedom is not only freedom from but freedom to.
When people talk about freedom, they often mean personal freedom,
which includes the freedom to think, speak and act as they want.
When we are given the opportunity and power to do what we want,
we have freedom to. However, is freedom always good?
Misuse of Freedom
We can use our freedom to make wrong choices and do
wrong things. The first man (Adam) misused his freedom. God told
him, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but
you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
for when you eat from it you will certainly die (Genesis 2:16-17,
To do the right thing, Adam was not free to disobey
God. But as a human being, Adam had the freedom to obey
or disobey God. Adam (and Eve) chose to disobey God and do the wrong
thing. This is sin, which may be defined as any attitude
or action opposed to Gods authority and moral will.
Need for a Deliverer
Adams sin has infected all of his descendants (all humanity)
so that all are morally corrupted. All humans are born captive to
the power of sin. As a result of sin, we live in a fallen world
a world full of bad things that constrain, afflict, control,
dominate, oppress, enslave or imprison us. Thus we need to be delivered
When Jesus came into this world, he claimed to be the One who would
proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners
(Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:16-21). Isaiahs original prophecy was
offered as comfort to the Jews prior to their physical captivity
in Babylon. But Jesus made it clear that Isaiahs prophecy
pointed to a greater fulfillment.
The freedom that Jesus brings is firstly spiritual and applies to
us today. In the future Jesus will return to establish his perfect
kingdom and Gods people will experience complete freedom!
to be Set Free
Jesus made great claims about himself and his relationship to his
Father (God the Father). Many of Jesus fellow Jews rejected
him, but many believed in him. To the Jews who had believed
him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really
my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set
you free (John 8:31-32, NIV).
The truth will set you free has become a popular saying.
It is the motto of many universities. Many people believe that education
will set us free. While education can help to set
us free from the bonds of ignorance, education alone cannot
set us free from spiritual bondage. Our problem is not
merely intellectual; it is spiritual, and relates to our moral condition
and relationship with God. Jesus made this clear.
Jesus said, "everyone who [continues in sin]" is a "slave
to sin" (John 8:34). Everyone enters life in slavery to sin.
We are controlled by our sinful desires, and the result of sin is
death (Romans 6:23). The "truth" offers freedom from both
the controlling influence of sin and the result of sin (which is
"spiritual death" separation from God, the Source
The "truth" is connected with Jesus himself, who died
on the cross for our sin, and was raised from the dead thereby defeating
sin and death. Through faith in Jesus, we are united with him in
his victory over sin and death. This is true freedom!
Of course, many people do not feel they need the freedom that Jesus
offers. The Jews listening to Jesus didnt feel they needed
it (John 8:33). They felt secure as "Abrahams descendants."
They were relying on their ethnic/religious status, not realizing
that a true relationship with God (and true freedom) is realized
through faith in Jesus. Those who rely on their status, descent
or achievements are blinded to their real needs, and the real Solution.
If we want true freedom, we must trust in Jesus and hold to his
teaching. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life
(John 14:6). He is the only way to God. Have you admitted your need
to be set free? Do you need to trust in the Jesus?
Set Free to Serve God
True freedom is not freedom to continue in sin, which shows slavery
to the forces that oppose God (Romans 6:1-23). True freedom is freedom
to serve God willingly and joyfully. True freedom is a new life
indwelt by the Holy Spirit, inspired and enabled to do Gods
will. Paul wrote,
you have been set free from sin and
have become slaves of God (Romans 6:22). True freedom is slavery
to God, for God is the gracious Source of life, love and freedom.
Brothers and sisters, are you truly living in the freedom of Christ?
Reflect on the truth of who you are as Gods beloved child.
Reflect on the truth that Jesus has defeated sin and death, and
you are united with him in his victory and freedom! Pray that these
truths would saturate your heart. Pray for the empowerment of the
Holy Spirit, and make a practice of saying no to sin,
and yes to acts of righteousness. Reflect on Romans
As always, if you have any comments or questions, please let me