Text: John 8:31-38
Freedom today is reduced to a mere memorial. A term that can be easily mistaken with “independence,” “rights,” or to do something you want to do. This shallow view of freedom is a complacent perspective in living a life freed and redeemed by Christ.
Let me give a definition of what Freedom is. Freedom is to do what we ought to do. What we must do as a follower of Christ. It calls beyond the thought of doing what I want to do, instead, I will do what I must do.
In the context of Second Temple Judaism or when the Jewish people wait upon the coming of the Messiah, they have the perspective that they will be freed once he arrives. Freedom from what? We know that during the first century, the Jews are under the government of Rome and were influenced by the culture of the Greeks.
Similarly, in today’s context, it is easy for Christians to view freedom with liberation from poverty, government oppression, corruption, and embrace the idea of progress towards human perfection. I mean, several of these ideas are not wrong, but focusing too much on these physical matters clouds our mind to the real and true purpose of freedom.
In our passage, Christ told those who believed in him that the only way to be freed is to abide in His words because the truth sets a person free. Not by any might nor any effort but only through Christ.
I. Freedom in Truth
We know that Jesus is the Truth Personified in John 14:6. Indeed, the truth sets us free. This claim of Christ makes us realize that we now ought to live a life freed from the imprisonment of lies. Lies, conceit, entitlement, pride, bitterness, and guilt all come together. This burdens a person and traps you. It shackles us to move forward and enjoy life.
Lying not only entraps and gives us a heavy burden but also makes us a devil family.
There are only two options here, being a child of God in Truth or a child of the devil in Lies.
“Do not lie” is one of the ten commandments. Liars do not have a place in heaven, Revelation 22:15 states, “Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
II. Freedom from the Bondage of Sin
The following verses 34-36 point that all sinners are bound to sin. We all choose to sin; actually, no. Before being a Christian, you do not have a choice (Eph. 2:1). It is in your nature to sin. Because your heart itself is filled with sin. Romans 3:10, 23. Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.”
Meaning, those who are in Christ have now the power through the Spirit to overcome sin and fight against it. You are no longer a slave to sin. In our passage, you are now freed from the bondage of sin. We do still commit sin, but this does not trap us nor make us followers of it. We can now say “NO” to it, repent, and mortify it. Romans 6:22, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”
Again, now that we are freed from the slavery of sin, we are called to mortify sin. Read Colossians 3:5-11.
As I conclude let me read this short prayer of St. Augustine. Augustine of Hippo struggled from lust, fleshly desires, and pride. Yet he was aware of his sins and other sins. He prayed: “Look with mercy on these follies, Lord, and set us free who already call upon you. Set free those also who do not yet call upon you, so that they may invoke you and you may give them freedom” (Confessions, 14).
Who can change a sinner’s heart? Only the one who was proclaimed in the book of Isaiah as the suffering servant who bears the Spirit of God, ought to deliver sinners from their sins and redeem them for his eternal glory, Jesus the Christ.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
August 15, 2021
*This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.
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