I don’t want to be simplistic… I know there are suffering, oppressed people in unspeakable bondage to others. I also know there are individuals who are trying desperately to gain freedom from societal, emotional, even expectational prisons. And it’s not an easy thing to overcome sexual addiction or chemical dependency…
But Jesus said something that is unspeakably wonderful… something absolutely incredible and hope generating… if you believe it!
He said… “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free! … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (from John 8:31-39)
What is interesting is the fact that when He said this, His Jewish friends decried and denied any bondage… They said, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone!” Interestingly, at that very moment they were dominated – enslaved if you please – to Rome! (It’s interesting, isn’t it, the freedom people trumpet in the face of what they are in bondage to.) In fact, in the very same context, Jesus declared, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin!”
So what’s the deal… Jesus, and the truth he proclaims and personifies, has the power to free us, regardless of our circumstances or life-situation! That’s incredible – but true! This morning I’m thinking of Bible-believing, born-again, Christ-following slaves in the early days of America… Their circumstances, slavery! But inwardly “free in Christ”! I’m thinking of a Christian in a prison in Iran… facing death because of their faith, but “free in Christ!” A wife in an unhappy marriage – or a child in an unloving home… the incredible truth remains… it’s possible to be free – free to love, free to forgive, free because Christ has made them free within.
Don’t get me wrong… We should do everything in our power to help the oppressed find freedom. But it’s also true… You can live in an opulent penthouse, surrounded by every luxury imaginable, and be in terrible bondage! I’ve traveled and ministered abroad, and I can tell you, some of the freest people on planet earth live in squalor and poverty in countries that oppress those who follow Jesus! But they have experienced and enjoy “freedom in Christ!” Just say’n… “If the Son set you free, you will be free indeed!”