Summary: We throw around many words and cliches in the church. One of those is that we are free in Christ, but what does that freedom mean? Many assume it means a freedom to do more things, but that is not what freedom in Christ is all about.
“What Does It Mean to Have Freedom?”
Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech said some beautiful words that he quoted from an old Negro spiritual, “free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we’re free at last…”
Patrick Henry famously said in a speech to the Virginia legislature, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
The founding fathers of this nation ensured that we would have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Freedom has always been one of the major emphasizes of America as a nation.
Freedom is one of the most treasured things that we have. We thank God often for our freedom. We as Americans treasure our freedom. Many people have willingly risked and lost their lives in order to gain or preserve freedom.
Israel as a people spent many years in bondage and they did not like it very much. They spent time in slavery while in Egypt and they spent time in captivity in Babylon, and nothing compared to their freedom as a people.
The Jews even had a holiday dedicate to the concept of liberty. They called it the year of jubilee. On that particular year which occurred every fifty years debts were cancelled, slaved were free, and land returned to the original landowners. Can you imagine how everyone looked forward to that day, especially the slaves? For them it meant their freedom. We too have a year of jubilee, but that comes not through waiting for a certain year to arrive, but through Christ we receive our debts cancelled and we receive our freedom.
Often times when we talk about the blessings we have in Christ we forget about the freedom that we have in Christ. We are free in Christ, but what exactly does that mean? We as individuals have a free will; we have the freedom to choose to do what we want to do. We though who are Christians do not have the right to simply do as we choose, but because of the freedom we have in Christ we have the opportunity to do what is right. There is such depth behind the meaning of being free.
As I have already stated, many have fought and died in order to guarantee a freedom from tyranny, oppression and persecution in this life. People have devoted their lives to the cause of freedom. We love to sing patriotic songs proclaiming our freedom as Americans, but how much greater and with how much more fervor should we seek freedom from the oppression of sin and the Devil? How much more should we long for and be willing to sacrifice for freedom in Christ?
This freedom that we have in Christ is one of the greatest blessing to our lives and when we understand what that freedom really means we are truly freed to do more for the Kingdom. However, there are many misconceptions about what it means to be free in Christ, and I believe those misconception limit the beauty of the concept of what it truly means to be free.
Text: John 8:31-36
I. What Freedom in Christ Does Not Mean
A. We can continue in sin
We are called to demonstrate virtue and not justify vice. That freedom that we have should not be used to indulge in sin. This is an abuse of the grace of God.
Many people see their freedom as a license to sin. Yes, we are free in Christ, but are we freed to do anything we want to do whenever we want to do it? No! We have this thing called submission and we submit to Christ. It is a sad thing to see many that have not really submitted themselves to Christ.
The problem is that our culture is in love with the concept of freedom. People talk about our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion. We have many that if we told them that we as Christians are subject to Christ and t certain commands they would wonder where the freedom was in that. Many people see Christianity as slavery and oppression. They see it as not being able to live freely, but that is wrong. Often time’s sin gives people the illusion of freedom. In the end though people begin to seek from God rather than freedom in God. We though often spend more time dwelling on what God forbids rather than on the many things that He allows. We prefer to think of what he tells us we cannot do rather than thinking about how good He has been to us.
B. We can’t cause the weak to stumble
There are certain rights, privileges and freedoms that we have in Christ. Many people look at those freedoms and think of how great that is. While we do have those freedoms we still must be careful with how we exercise our freedoms. If our use of our freedom causes someone to stumble then it becomes a sin for us.