Summary: Free by Christ

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Free Indeed

John 8:36

John Shearhart

May 22, 2011

What a great joy this morning to know that we’re free to worship unmolested. In many countries churches will meet this week in some wooded area or discreetly in someone’s home. They aren’t free to worship according to their own consciences.

It wasn’t too long ago before men living in our nation were considered slaves. They weren’t really free to do anything on their own. They had so-called masters who ruled their fate.

Just think: you could have just as easily been born into circumstances in which you were a slave, but it pleased God to allow you freedom.

As much as we enjoy this freedom, though, it’s nothing compared to the spiritual freedom in Christ. This freedom is different than social or personal freedom—it isn’t obtained through war and it can’t be taken away.

This freedom is from God, and it’s far better than any freedom we can procure in this life:

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8:36).

Let’s take a few moments to consider what this means:

#1- This verse presumes that MEN ARE IN BONDAGE BEFORE THEY ARE SET FREE.

This is true in Adam:

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Rom. 5:12).

This is what we call the doctrine of original sin. To put it simply, all men, even at birth, are sinful and depraved.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Ps. 51:5).

Being born into sin means that we are slaves to it. Go back to John 8 and back up to verse 31:

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (Jn. 8:31-36).

These Jews thought they were never slaves to anyone, but Jesus corrects them. If you do the bidding of sin, then you’re the slave of sin. This word for slave is doulos (doulos). A doulos isn’t a hired hand or a butler; he’s a slave. We are the doulos of Christ. We belong to Him; we are His property to command as He desires.

When we were slaves to sin (before we were redeemed), we belonged to it as much as we now belong to Christ.

We were not free to do our own bidding; we were in bondage.

But there’s hope:

#2- This verse reveals that FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE IS POSSIBLE.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8:36).

Can you imagine how a slave must have felt on a plantation in the South in the early 1800’s? Can you imagine seeing your family taken away and being forced to work all day for nothing? And to know that escape was impossible! Escape to where? Anyone who saw you would know and you’d be returned in no time to face punishment.

What hopelessness! Who can rescue you? Who would want to rescue you? Who would risk his life to see that you’re made free, especially when you have nothing to offer in return; especially when you’re the reproach of society.

And this was our plight spiritually. We were born not only slaves to sin, but reproachable to God:

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Ps. 51:5).

But there was one who not only risked His life but gave it that we might be free. Though we all hated Him and scorned Him, though we rejected Him, He loved us that we might love Him.

Some of you may think you’ve gone too far to be redeemed from the bondage of sin:

But God commendeth (conveyed) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. […] 20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Rom. 5:8, 20).

God doesn’t require that we break ourselves free from the bondage of sin before He loves us—He is unchanging (Mal. 3:6), and His love endures forever (Ps. 136)! Because He has always loved us He has broken our chains and causes us to love Him in return regardless of our sinfulness.

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