Each July, we celebrate our freedom as a country and as individuals. It is also an excellent time to reflect on what it means to be free in Christ. But what is biblical freedom, and what does it mean when the Bible says, “For freedom, Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1)? While we consider the blessing of freedom this month, it is important to remember what freedom in Christ and freedom from sin truly means.
The dictionary defines freedom in a rather broad sense, focusing on six primary meanings (Dictionary.com, 2022). Which one of these definitions of freedom do you think of first when you think of freedom?
1. The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.
2. Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3. The power to determine action without restraint.
4. Political or national independence.
5. Personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery.
6. Exemption from the presence of anything (for example, freedom from fear).
Now think of the phrase freedom in Christ or freedom from sin. What comes to mind? Do any of the definitions above align with your ideas about what biblical freedom means?
While many of the elements in the definitions above tie into the Bible’s description of freedom, none of them quite hit the mark. The Bible’s definition of true freedom can be boiled down to one truth: True freedom occurs only through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Freedom in Christ
In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit is, there is freedom” (Romans 6:22). He makes it clear that freedom comes from the Lord. However, God gives us not one, but two types of freedom. First, He offers us freedom from the chains of sin. Second, God allows us to choose whether or not we will accept that gift of freedom. Let’s take a look at both of these in more detail.
Freedom from Sin
When we were born, each of us were born into a form of slavery. It may not be obvious at first, especially when we look at the freedoms we have in our country. But being born into a sinful world separates us from God.
When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world. God is pure and holy and, as such, cannot be in the presence of sin. Therefore, a rift formed between God and His creation — humanity. God couldn’t bear being separated from us, so He gave us a way to restore a relationship with Him: Jesus Christ.
The Price of Freedom
Jesus told us, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). July is when we remember those who have laid down their lives for our country’s freedoms. However, Jesus paid the ultimate price to set each of us free — if we choose to accept that gift. Jesus came to live on Earth as a human, died on a cross, and rose again three days later so that we could have a relationship with the holy God.
Absolute freedom is knowing that we have escaped the consequences of sin because of what He did for us. When we accept Christ into our hearts, He breaks the chains of sin, restoring our relationship with God and giving us eternal life. He frees us from our guilt, shame, and broken-heartedness. Paul writes in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
“Our freedom was bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. “Who the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36)! What a promise! When we choose to walk in a relationship with Jesus, that is when we are truly free.
The Gift of Freedom
We can do nothing to earn God’s gift of freedom and nothing that we can do to make Him withdraw it from us. That is the meaning of grace. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” He writes further about the nature of grace in Romans 6:14: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
When we learn that Jesus is the Messiah and that true freedom comes from our relationship with Him, we can choose whether or not we will accept that gift of freedom. Jesus told us, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Have You Been Set Free?
Have you chosen to accept God’s gift of freedom by asking Jesus Christ into your life? If you haven’t received His gift of freedom yet, there is no better time than now to receive it!
If you want to accept that gift of freedom today, you can. (Now, if you have already asked Jesus into your heart and know someone that wants to experience His freedom, you can guide them through the following verses and prayer.)
The following verses describe God’s love for us and how He paid for our freedom from sin and gave us the ability to have a relationship with Him. These verses describe how you can accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior today.
- John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.”
- Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
- Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Romans 5:8: “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Romans 10:9-13: “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
If these verses have made an impact in your heart and you want to accept this beautiful gift of grace, talk to your parents or a trusted spiritual leader at your church!
Living Life in Freedom
Once you have accepted Jesus Christ into your heart, you receive His grace and freedom. You can start walking in the path of righteousness, and in relationship with Him. However, be careful that you don’t return to the sinful ways that you’ve just surrendered to Jesus. You will almost certainly be tempted to do so at some point.
Paul cautions us, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). If we return to our sinful ways, even after giving our hearts to Christ, we reject His freedom and return to the bondage from which He released us.
Paul explains that, “We know our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:6-7). Instead of being chained up by sin and separating ourselves from God, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18).
Called to Freedom
Paul continues by saying, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:13-14).
Every day you will be tempted to reject the beautiful gift that God has given you. When praying, remember to give those temptations, your sins, and your burdens back to Jesus for Him to carry each day. When you follow His instruction and live a life that is pure and holy to Him, you can boldly say, “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts” (Psalm 119:45). The Holy Spirit will place in your heart a desire to follow Him, and He will help you thrive as you walk in freedom!
Tell Us How it Went!
The Bring Your Bible team wants to know what you think about freedom in Christ. Send us your thoughts, comments, and ideas for future Live It Challenges!