What do you think about when you think of freedom? Do you think it means doing as you please? The true meaning of freedom is being free from something.
When we do wrong, we fall under the condemnation and the power of our wrongdoing. We are condemned since the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23). This means that sin brings a state of spiritual death to us. We really don’t need the Bible to tell us this do we? Whenever we do something wrong, we know it and we don’t like it. Many times we condemn ourselves for our mistakes in a way much harsher than anyone else would.
This condemnation generates something terrible in us: fear. One of the phrases most repeated by Jesus was, “Fear not!”
Freedom from fear is a great blessing. Fear is the root of so much illness in the world, such as mental health problems. Fear can lead to anxiety, depression, heart disease and a whole host of other medical disorders. But when we live fearlessly, we are free to be healed by God. It all has to do with the concept of justice.
Perfect Justice, Perfect Mercy
We have a funny way of thinking about justice, because in many ways we want an unjust god. We want a god that will say, “There, there, your mistakes are not such a big deal. Nothing to see here, now. Run along.” That way we slip into heaven like a teenager sneaking into the back door of a movie theater.
But when it comes to justice here on earth, we want perfection. We expect criminal acts to be dealt with by the justice system. The reality is that God’s justice is even more severe. His demand for perfection sits much higher than we can possibly imagine. God condemns sin with the utmost severity as sin cannot exist in his presence.
But when Jesus gave up his life for you, he removed all condemnation. Instead of falling upon us, the punishment fell upon the Son of God. This is one of the hardest things to accept and understand. Ironically, rejection of this truth is often rooted in another form of slavery: pride. We are so proud sometimes that we don’t even want to give up our mistakes.
The humiliation of God’s Son established perfect justice. How? Because perfect justice of God requires perfect payment. This could only be achieved by the perfect sacrifice. Jesus, completely innocent, was the only one that could fill that role. He became sin and was put to death for our sake. For your sake.
You Are Free
Even though the torture and humiliation of Christ’s persecution, trial and crucifixion were painful, it was nothing compared to the spiritual pain that was felt by God the Father and Jesus at that moment.
What does this mean?
It means that you are free. It means that your soul is saved from spiritual death. It also means that you are free from the power or influence of sin. You’re no longer a slave. You no longer have to live in fear.
Does this mean that you’ll never make mistakes again? Of course not. But when you’re a slave, you have no other option but slavery. I recall when I was under the influence of alcohol and drugs, I had no choice. I ran to these things because I loved them, or at least that’s what Satan wanted me to believe. But the Spirit of God freed me from this power. I may struggle with other things, but I’m no longer a slave. A slave has no choice, but a free person can resist and fight.
It’s A Process
Remember, the full blessings of freedom don’t come all at once. Think of it like a multi-lane highway. In some lanes, you zip along smoothly while in other places cars barely crawl forward. But bit by bit, God’s hand helps you remove the traffic jams. Your prayer life helps monitor your progress. When you faithfully seek God’s presence, he shows you how to get to a point where your freedom flows uniformly, like a river. Be patient with yourself during this process, and be confident that you are maturing.
Be completely free of excessive worry and anger. Be liberated from arrogance, pride, vanity or jealousy. Escape from impatience or a desire for vengeance. Break away from laziness or a distorted self-image. All these things lead to spiritual death, while freedom in Christ lets you soar on wings like an eagle (Isaiah 40:31).
So ask God frequently to set you free from the chains that tie you down.
This freedom, born of the Spirit of God, allows you to resist all the negativity and evil in the world and say, “Enough! I do not believe in a world that tries to sell me isolation and despair. Instead I believe in a great King who lives and is seated at God’s right hand. I believe in a heavenly King who brings a new righteousness to my heart. Not a righteousness of power and control, but the righteousness of love.”
This post is an excerpt from Vince’s book, Is Jesus Real? Can Jesus Help Me? Order from Amazon today.
Title image source (modified).