John Sentone IV
Freedom has a very broad meaning. Usually, when we talk about freedom of one's country, it is independent and free from any foreign power.
To others, it is not only freedom from any foreign intervention, but also freedom from want like having sufficient foods, clothing, and shelter. Even freedom from ignorance, it means having sufficient education for all. It can also mean freedom from injustices, freedom from oppression. It also means freedom of speech and assembly.
But when we talk about freedom, according to the Bible in John 8:32, Jesus said
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
In verses 33-34, they answered Him,
“...we be Abraham's seeds, and we're never in bondage to any man: how sayeth thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”
In verse 36,
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
This is the teaching of Jesus about freedom. The freedom that Jesus meant is from the bondage of sin. But to the Jews, they claim they are free men and not a slave of anyone. Although during that time, they were under the Roman rule. To them, they are free. As children of Abraham, they are not born slaves.
But Jesus answered them, “He that committeth sin is a servant of sin.” So He said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” What Jesus means is that though they are not slaves of anyone yet living in sin, they are slaves of sin. But though they under Roman rulers, they are only free if freed from sin.
Though our country today is independent from foreign government or rulers, unlike during the Spanish regime, during Japanese occupation period, and the Americans during liberation years. We are under these rulers such as the governor generals appointed by the American government. The Philippines today is free from foreign government but the real independence of our country is not only in our political and physical existence but above all in our spiritual life.
According to Christ, we therefore are slaves, and our slavery is of sin. We are slave of sin. Therefore, we are slave of Satan. In Ephesians 2:2,
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”
Believers have their own experience of slavery before their conversion. They were once walking or living under the prince of the air, the spirit that worked in the children of disobedience, but they were delivered and made free. Praise the Lord! We have the same experience today just like the early Christians. Now we are free. The word of God says in Ephesians 2:4,
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.”
Even though we were dead in sins but quickened us together with Christ, by grace we are saved. Let us take note of this, “he had quickened us together with Christ,” now we are saved. We are saved from the slavery of that wicked spirit of Satan that now is also working among the children of disobedience.
It is a big contrast on what we are today and what we were yesterday. Before our conversion, we were slaves of Satan. But now we have this freedom in Christ, we have been set free. We are set free from Satan.
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning...”
- I John 3:8
For this purpose, the Son of God manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil. Christ came in our lives and He has destroyed the power of Satan.
How did Christ set us free? In Matthew 12:28, Jesus, while preaching the Gospel or the Good News of God, He is casting out the devil by the Spirit of God,
“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”
In verse 29, He first bind the strong man which is Satan then will spoil his house. Christ has set us free. So we are now free against the power of Satan, against all the power of the world. In I John 4:4, “...greater is he that is in you.” We are now free from Satan. We are not afraid of him. Instead of following him, we can now rebuke him and he will obey us. In James 4:7, this is what the Bible says on our power against Satan,
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
This is the promise of God; we now have the power to resist the devil. Satan will only dominate us if we submit ourselves to him, if we submit ourselves to the lust of flesh and pride of life. But if we will resist him, he will flee from us. Praise the Lord, we are free.
So we cannot be a slave of sin as what Christ has said in John 8:34,
“…Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”
Christ now is in us, we can resist the devil. We have been free not only in our physical existence, but above all, we have been free in our spirit. Free from vices, free from lust of this world. Free from bad habits that dominated us before. Just like in Romans 6:17, the Roman Christians before that conversion were slave of sin. Now, they have been set free because the doctrine of Christ. The teaching of Christ is now in their heart. We were born anew by the word of Christ which is the incorruptible seed (I Peter 1:23). We cannot be corrupted by Satan we will resist him. So all our bad habits, all our vices, all the lust and pride that bind us are now gone. We have overcome the world (I John 5:4).
Above all these, the greatest freedom is the salvation of our soul. Before, our soul and body were destined to hell (Matthew 10:28). God can destroy our soul in hell, while physical death can destroy only our body. But sin destroys the body and soul in hell. But when we accept Christ, this is the very purpose of our faith (I Peter 1:9). We have received the very purpose of our faith which is the salvation of our soul. Because of sin, our souls before are destined to hell. Now, our souls are set free. When we die our physical body will live again, it is a salvation in physical death (John 11:25). This is freedom from death. We have a promise of being changed in the twinkling of an eye, from corruptible to incorruptible (I Corinthians 15:51-52). But now our soul is already free. We are already saved. Saved from what? We are saved from judgment, saved from condemnation. The soul that has sinned is condemned, because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
We are under condemnation. But in Christ, there is no more condemnation. We are now in Christ. That's why Paul said in Ephesians 1:7, to him he declared,
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
So if a man dies today, he is set free from judgment and condemnation, no more penalty.
“...to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:8
Death has no more hold upon us. Before, we were separated. In death, our soul will be destined to the terrible torment of fire. In Luke 16:23 when the rich man died,
“In hell he lifted up his eyes being in torment...”
Now, we are not destined to hell anymore, but to be in Christ in His paradise. He promised this also to the thief in His right side, ‘today, you shall be with me in paradise’. It is very reasonable to believe that those who live in sin under Satan are destined with Satan in hell. Those who are in Christ are also normal to believe His Word. Those who die in Christ will be in His presence.
Christ is not in hell. He is in the right hand of the Father. He is in heaven. We have forgiveness and redemption, we will be with Christ. This is freedom of our soul, freedom of our spirit. This is freedom from want, as what Jesus said,
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
- Matthew 6:33
There is no more slavery of any kind: we have freedom from want, true freedom for our soul, our body and condition in life. We are completely free. Jesus Christ is our freedom. We are living in this wicked world, in this corruptible world, the world of all lies and unrighteousness. But we are not under this world anymore. We have been set free by Christ, in this world and in the life to come we are always free. We have freedom in Christ.