Freedom! Few words spark such emotion in people. The desire to be free beats within our hearts and courses through our veins. Some of the greatest moments in history are those efforts made to free people from oppression.
This deep desire to be free is the very thing Jesus Christ came to offer us. Jesus himself said,
“If you abide in my words you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul boldly declares,
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
But what is this freedom? How can we attain it, live in it and stand firm on it?
Freedom is not something that Jesus put into the world for all to simply declare for themselves. Freedom is a release from something; something that has been binding you and holding you back. A prisoner cannot stand in the middle of a closed cell and declare himself to be free. If he is offered a key, he must take it and unlock the door. In the same way we need to take the key Jesus offers in order to attain His freedom.
The prison we all live in is the prison of sin and guilt. Sin is simply disobedience to God. God’s will, His command to us, is to live a life of faith in Him and of love for one another. Can you describe your life that way? All of it? Search your heart and be honest with yourself. I know that I cannot; none of us can. We know in our hearts that we are guilty, but can’t stop ourselves. We are trapped by those selfish desires and cannot break free. We convince ourselves that it will be OK or that we are not as bad as others, and we trap ourselves more. God is just, and when He puts our actions and motives up against His law, he must charge us as guilty.
Jesus came to set you free from that guilt and from the burden of knowing that your life does not – cannot – be guiltless. Jesus paid the price for your sin. He took the punishment upon Himself. Because Jesus died on the cross for sin, you can be free! Free to live knowing that God has forgiven you and sees you as His perfect child.
Jesus stands at the door of your prison offering to open the door,
step inside and let you go free. Are you willing to accept His offer of freedom? Don’t try to prove you are worthy of this gift. He has already offered it. Simply recognize where you are. Admit your guilt to Him and your desire to live a changed life. It may take some humility, but why deny the truth? Then in faith believe that Jesus is able to offer you forgiveness. Take the key and be free!
Now that you are free, how to do you live and remain free? More on that next time. Until then know that Jesus wants you to be free. Seek it and grab hold of it!