This Memorial Day as you think about the freedom that is ours in the United States of America, and honor those brave men and women who have given their lives in the defense of this freedom, I wonder if you have ever thought about what it truly means to be free. What is freedom and how can you have it?
Any right view of freedom must start with the acknowledgment of bondage or servitude to another—whether another person or country. The denial of bondage smothers the flames of freedom even before they’ve been lit. Denial of bondage is also the best indicator that a person does not really have freedom!
Differing Views, but Which One is Right?
Different people have different views of what it means to be free. Not all however, can be truly free. There is a false freedom, and there is a true freedom. There is a condition in which people think they are free, but they are not, because they have never known what to be freed from in the first place. In others words, they have not known what binds them. Then there is the condition in which people know they are bound, and know they need freedom, and know true freedom when it comes.
Buddhism talks of killing all desire to end all suffering, and having done so, a person will have supposedly attained freedom. Similarly, Hinduism talks about doing many great deeds for the soul to be liberated from the cycle of karma. Islam leaves the worshipper of Allah in doubt about freedom until the day of judgment. Hedonism encourages living it up to satisfy all your pleasures, and assumes freedom to be found in living this way. Atheism defines freedom as having nothing to do with God or religion, because God is assumed to be non-existent. The views of Jesus on what it means to be free stand in stark contrast.
“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. . . . Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”
John 8:31-32, and 34
Jesus’ view of freedom begins with that which takes freedom away: sin. Sin is that condition which is inherent to all human beings. Sin is what binds us, and keeps us from experiencing true freedom. Sin separates us from God, destroys our purpose for living, and robs us from the joy and peace that true freedom gives us. Sin removes the protective boundaries freedom gives. When we are under sin, we are the slaves of sin. And everyone is the slave of sin because everyone commits or has committed sin. There is not a single sinless human being. The Bible says, “All have sinned. . .” (Romans 3:23) If we are slaves to sin, we need a Savior to help us gain true freedom. Knowing that we are under sin and in need of a Savior is to begin to know what true freedom is, and how it can be ours.
Freedom is the recognition of bondage, and the recognition of the only person who can break the bondage to set you free. You and I need the truth on these issues to be truly free. But who do I go to for this truth?
Jesus here, in these verses, is answering two groups of people. One group believed on Him, the other did not. To those who believed on Him, Jesus says in knowing “the truth,” they would be made free. One’s freedom is dependent on their knowledge of the truth. People today, who are in bondage, languish in bondage because of their ignorance of the truth. They assume, because of all they have been conditioned by, that they are free, all the while remaining ignorant of the truth. Ignorant people cannot be free. It is people who have knowledge of the truth, who have the keys to freedom. When Jesus talks about “the truth,” He is talking about Himself, and His word that He has given us. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Jesus is not only the person who we go to for the truth, but when we go to Him, we find that He is the truth.
How You Can Have True Freedom
In knowing this person Jesus, you and I can be made free. It is a relationship with Him that sets the person bound by sin free. To be made free, like these two groups who were seeking freedom, we must go to Him. But we don’t deny our bondage like one group did. We acknowledge our sinfulness and bondage to sin, and ask Him to set us free. And you can ask Him, because He paid the price for the freedom of all those who believe on Him. When on the cross Jesus died, pouring out His very blood as a price, He purchased our freedom. He died so we might be set free and have life.
Have you acknowledged your bondage, and need to be set free? If you know you are bound and need freedom, you can come to the Lord Jesus in prayer, believing on Him, and ask to be set free. He will set your guilty conscience free, give you hope, peace, and joy. Your freedom will be in this life, and the life to come, which he guarantees because He defeated death and rose from the dead.
Freedom comes at a cost. We remember the sons of this soil who continue to give freedom to this land. And we acknowledge the Son, the only One who can make us free, for “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
© Kenny Damara, 2014