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Our freedom in Christ
- Jacob Ninan
If we know just a little bit of the Bible we will still recognise that God has promised us freedom when we come to Him through Christ (Ga.5:1,13). But what exactly is this freedom Jesus has come with? Jesus has said that He came to proclaim liberty to the captives and to set the oppressed free (Lk.4:18,19). It is possible for us to misunderstand what this freedom means, in practical terms, and go in wrong directions. So, let's try to understand what Jesus meant.
We know that the basic problem of man was the presence of sin: we can easily see the sins of people around us especially when they affect us, and when we learn to be honest we can also see our own sins and sinful tendencies that cause problems to ourselves and others. When we sin we go outside of God's will for us, then we get into bondage because sin is a bondage (Ro.6:16;Jn.8:13). This bondage makes us sin more, and then we get away from God's plans for us much more. We know that God has many plans for us for our welfare (Je.29:11), but if we go on sinning we don't get to experience all the blessings He has prepared for us (1Co.2:9). It is from this bondage that Jesus has come to set us free. That is why His name itself is Jesus, meaning 'Jehovah saves', because He came to save His people from their sins (Mt.1:21). When we get freed from the guilt of our sins when the blood of Jesus washes us (Jn.1:7), and we learn to walk according to the Spirit (Ro.8:4), we begin to experience the 'glorious freedom' of the sons of God.
This does not mean we now have freedom to do 'our own thing'. Our real freedom is to be able to do God's will. That is where all our blessings are. If we do what we like, we can't expect God to bless us as much as He wants to, even though He may grant us 'common grace' that He gives to all people (Mt.5:45). Of course, we don't have freedom to sin just because God has shown us grace (Ro.6:15), because Jesus came to take us to exactly the opposite place where we stop sinning (1Jn.2:1).
Jesus wants us to enjoy being free from bondage to the opinions of people around us (Pr.29:25;Ga.1:10). When we want to do the will of God there will be a lot of opposition from men, and to live in fear of what man may say is a great bondage. God wants us to walk before Him without this fear. At the same time, it is not a 'freedom' where we walk in our own ways ignoring what others tell us. People who are in 'Christian' cults or following heresy have a tendency to ignore people who warn them, thinking that it is their way that is right and it is they who are truly serving Christ. Many young people become 'anti-establishment' and seek for a (false) freedom from the opinion of people. This (wrong) attitude towards 'freedom' has led to many weird things in the name of the Holy Spirit. No, there is safety in listening to counsel and correction (Pr.11:14).
True freedom is to do the will of God, denying self, and then there is His grace with increasing peace and joy.