When we Americans think of “being free”, we usually mean throwing off all constraints. If we tried to picture what freedom feels like it would be:
- like your caged pet acts when you finally get home from work and let the gate open!
- like your toddler acts when you are trying to change their diaper and they manage to wriggle free!
- like the relief of coming home after a 10 hour work day and pulling off your panty hose!
- like a student feels when the last school bell of the day rings.
- like you and your college buddies 4-wheeling over previously undiscovered muddy trails
What does the Bible mean when it speaks of freedom?
- “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.” Romans 6:20
- “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
- “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
- “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16
- “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” 1 Corinthians 8:9
- “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
“Biblical freedom is never spiritual anarchy or a new ability to enjoy forbidden things. We’re released from bondage to sin and death and the law, and we’re liberated for obedience in the Spirit — from a lower bondage, for a higher one. That’s why freedom in Christ leads directly in Scripture to truly loving others. We’re free from grim, duty–driven spirituality…free from the tyranny of needing others’ approval…free from the darkness of guilt that blankets our souls…free from the quicksand of sin’s power…Our freedom to truly love highlights what I like to call the difference between adolescent freedom and mature freedom.
- Adolescent freedom asks only, What am I free from?
Mature freedom asks also, What am I free for?
- Adolescent freedom asks only, Is it forbidden?
Mature freedom asks also, Is it helpful?
- Adolescent freedom embraces the liberty “to do my own thing.”
Mature freedom embraces the liberty “to do Christ’s thing.”
- Adolescent freedom often confuses legalism with obedience
Mature freedom knows not only the exhilaration of being free from the wrong master,
but also the greater exhilaration of being enslaved to the right Master.”
Dwight Edwards, Revolution Within, WaterBrook Press, 2oo2, 162-3.