Article: FREEDOM FROM SIN IS THE TRUE FREEDOM | Jacob Varghese
John 8:36 says “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We read about freedom, dream about freedom, rejoice in the idea of freedom, teach, promote and hope for freedom, but what do we mean by freedom?
Our country India is celebrating its Independence Day one more time. The Independence Day of India is celebrated religiously throughout the country every year. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the leaders who fought for India’s freedom in the past. As we celebrate, we need to ask ourselves a question-Are we free? We might say ‘yes!’ Our country has been freed from the tyranny of foreign rulers. But our country men are still in bondage and oppression. They are bonded to idolatry, superstitious beliefs, sinful ways like adultery, alcoholism and so on. We are still divided by religion, caste, color, social groupings, languages and others. Every other day we witness violence happening across the country. We may have achieved ‘Independence’ from the British rule, but we still are not free. We are still slaves of our narrow thinking; we are still slaves of poverty, malnutrition, casteism, and misinformation and so on. Female infanticide is still prevailing in the society. Rapes are increasing at an alarming rate, mob lynching increase drastically and no one seems to be bothered by it.
People still love each other and want to live together, but the way communal forces have emerged is certainly worrying. Independence Day does not mean one day of nationalist pride, it means a commitment to serve the nation in a truly inclusive way. Until unless we eradicate the social evils, intolerance and learn to accept differences and celebrate them, the people in the country cannot prosper. Is it enough being a constitutionally independent country? Are we living with complete freedom, are we really liberated? It is not that I am trying to point out all the negatives about our country; we have undergone many positive changes after the independence. It is that just making me a proud Indian. How can we help our people? I DON’T KNOW!! But I KNOW FREEDOM FROM SIN IS THE TRUE FREEDOM!
Freedom means many things to many people. What does true freedom look like? It is crucial to define what we mean by freedom so that we know what we are looking for, what we are hoping to attain. We think that once our particular freedom is achieved, all our problems will be solved. Not really. We often confuse the true nature of freedom. For many of us, freedom has become synonymous with personal independence – the ability to make our own decisions and to choose our own path in life, to do whatever we want, whenever we want. But this is not the freedom that Jesus promised us. When Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah, He said that He had come to Earth to “proclaim freedom” (Luke 4:18). And on another occasion, He said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Jesus was not setting us free to do whatever we wanted; He was freeing us to do what we ought to do. He was liberating us to walk in relationship with God and to be the kind of people He created us to be. And this is the freedom that sin had long denied us. Jesus shocked the Pharisees, the spiritual leaders of His day, when He stated, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Jesus was asserting that we are all under the power and control of a natural tendency to sin; we cannot get away from it by ourselves. How do we find freedom from the penalty and power of sin? That comes through accepting Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross as the payment for our sin. As we submit to Christ, sin loses its power and Christ’s power takes over. As we choose to trust and follow Him, our sinful habits, thoughts and attitudes lose their control. Guilt disappears, and peace of mind dominates. Right habits become the norm. That freedom is the true freedom! The Bible says that true freedom begins in the heart. We act on our thoughts and behave according to our desires. The Bible tells us that we were made by God to honor Him and delight in Him forever. Yet, we chose to sin and rebel against God by abandoning our created purpose of worshiping Him in order to do our own thing and to pride fully make a name for ourselves. Due to our sin, we have all received the consequential penalty of sin, namely spiritual and physical death this separated us from God. Not only this, but throughout our life, the effects of sin infect everything we do. All of our thoughts, feelings, and actions are tainted by our sin. Yet, God in His love sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth and willingly die in the place of sinful humans like us to absorb all our sin, rebellion, and wrongdoing. Therefore, all who entrust their complete life to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins will be saved from their bondage to sin and given eternal life in Him and enjoy an intimate and personal connection and relationship with God himself. This is true freedom. And true freedom only exists in Jesus Christ. How does it happen? God changes our heart by His Holy Spirit. God makes us spiritually alive by giving us a new heart. This heart desires to love God. It sees Jesus Christ as beautiful and desires to love Him as the Lord and Savior of our life. By faith, we give our life to Jesus and receive His forgiveness and freedom from sin. Not only this, but we are now free to do the very thing we were created to do – to honor and enjoy God forever. And this joy in God is from our heart – our new heart given to us by God. This is true freedom. This is grace. This freedom from sin is the true freedom!