“Born free, as free as the wind blows – As free as the grass grows – Born free to follow your heart – Live free and beauty surrounds you – The world still astounds you, each time you look at a star – Stay free, where no walls divide you – You’re free as the roaring tide, so there’s no need to hide – Born free, and life is worth living, but only worth living, ’cause you’re born free.”
This film, and even the song, still brings a lump to my throat every time. On a different, but similar note, our country (South Africa) celebrated “Freedom Day”, on the 27th of April. This is a freedom of a different kind – Political freedom, or democracy.
As God’s people, we celebrate a FREEDOM of a different kind – freedom from the bondage to sin (Rom.8:31). This is why Christ died, to set us free and release us from Captivity, which is symbolized by the Babylonian Captivity that the Jews endured in the Old Testament. What then is the key to this freedom?
The path to True Freedom begins with RECOGNIZING where we are in our relationship with God. Jesus said, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” – Jn.8:32. The Pharisees were indignant! They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” – Jn. 8:33. They had obviously or conveniently forgotten the Babylonian Captivity that their forefathers had been a part of, about 500 years ago. Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”
The path to True Freedom begins with REALIZING that we need a REDEEMER. Jesus was very clear about whom that person is. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” – John 8:36
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome about the bondage that was brought about by the “fall” of Adam, and how we were all affected by the sin of Adam. “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass [Adam], but much more has the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification… for if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” – Rom. 5:15 – 17.
In essence, we are unable to free ourselves – we have to be RELEASED. Paul told the Romans, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death – Rom.8:2.
Paul said, in referring to our spiritual death, burial, and resurrection [baptism], which is our rebirth, “For one who has died has been set free from sin” – Rom.6:7. This concept of being “born again” is authored by Christ Himself cf John 3:3-5. Through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ we are in a sense, “born free”, but at the same time, we are born into a relationship of RIGHTEOUSNESS. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul, “and, having been set free from sin, [we] have become slaves of righteousness” – Rom.6:18.
Another blessing attached to being “born free” is that of a REWARD. “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Rom. 6:22, 23. Jesus Himself tells us what the reward is for obedient faith. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him may not perish, but have eternal life” – John 3:16
We are warned however by the Scriptures to REGULATE our use of freedom. The Galatians were reminded not to go back to the “Law” as the basis of salvation. “ For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery [to the Law of Moses] – Gal.5:1. The Jewish Christians were reprimanded to, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He [God] has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” – Heb. 13:5
The Apostle Peter reproved the scattered community of Christians, saying, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” – 1Pe-2:16
Conclusion: The democratic freedom that the secular world strives for is good, but the true freedom that Christ brings, is better, by far! The reason is that the former is temporary and fragile at best because it is governed by men. The latter is permanent and eternal, because it is given by God. Someone once said, “It is better to die for an ideology that will live, than to live for an ideology that will die.”
Christ did that for us, and thereby gave us free access into the grace by which we now stand! He knew there was no other way to redeem this world of weak and fallen people – for God so loved…
“You may never know the results of your actions, but if there are no actions, there can be no results” – Gandhi