When we think of freedom, we frequently associate it with doing things without any restraint or regulation. In America, liberty is often associated with the pursuit of happiness as if when one is free, one can choose whatever that makes him happy. Happiness is a result of freedom to do what one wants, it is “freedom to”.
What Jesus referred to when He mentioned freedom was “freedom from” and not “freedom to”. If we are not free from slavery, we are then not free to do what we desire. “Freedom from” is the key to “freedom to”. The key to “freedom from” is to abide in God’s Word and become a true disciple of Jesus. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. God’s truth through His Word and our obedience as Jesus’ disciples can then set us free from slavery.
The believing Jews did not understand what Jesus was saying and they claimed that since they were the offspring of Abraham, they had never been under slavery. They were probably ignorant of history about their slavery in Egypt and turn a blind eye to their current situation of control by the Romans. They were thinking political freedom from enslavement but Jesus was talking about spiritual freedom. It is freedom from sin that He was talking about, He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”
The greatest freedom is the freedom from sin because sin can enslave us, bringing us into slavery by losing our freedom to do what we want to do. It is like an addiction that would not go away and sin is addictive and many are kept captive by their habitual sins. When a part of your life is out of control, you are under slavery of sin because you cannot stop it at will. You have lost your freedom in that area. The loss of “freedom from” also means the loss of “freedom to”. Paul laments in the Book of Romans that he had no freedom not to sin and also did not have the freedom to do the things he thought he should do. The inability to stop sinning and to begin doing good is the basic condition of sinfulness. This is out of control.
When we are enslaved to sin, our father is not Abraham or God the Father, but the devil. When we cannot control ourselves, we lie and murder, try to hurt others and refuse to listen to God. We cannot control ourselves to serve God but have to do the will of the devil. So the devil becomes our father instead. The way that the devil can take away our freedom is by lying to us. The serpent lied to Eve and she believed the lie, so came the fall of humankind. The antidote to lie is God’s truth from His Word. When you read God’s Word, you may know the truth. If you obey His truth, the truth can then set you free. You will then “free from” sin and “free to” do good. Do you know the truth? Are you walking in the truth? Then you are free indeed!
Ps 69:19-28 1 Sam 18:5-19:24 John 8:31-59 Prov 15:12-14