Two Aspects of Freedom

By: jdcharles63
Date: 05/09/2021

To a person who doesn’t understand, Christian faith may seem like a lack of freedom, of being restricted by commandments that stop us doing things.
But in John 8:36, Jesus promised, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”.

When we think of freedom, it’s usually in the negative sense of the absence of restrictions, of “freedom from” things like prison bars or lockdowns and border closures.

But there is another type of freedom in the positive sense, when people are enabled to do things by the provision of skills or opportunities:
Such as the provision of free Measles vaccinations to enable us to mingle with minimum risk.

Or a government may give “freedom from” censorship of the printed press, but that’s of no value to someone who cannot read.  It’s only by the provision of schools that a government empowers people to have freedom to read the printed media.

So, compulsory schooling may seem to young children like the absence of freedom, but it is really giving them the positive “freedom to” do so many things in adult life they can’t even imagine.

Here at the Lord’s Table, as we celebrate Jesus’ victory on the cross, we see both of these aspects in the freedom he has won for us.

Firstly, we have “freedom from” the guilt of our sin, as Jesus took our penalty of death upon himself in our place.  And in rising from the grave, He gave us freedom from the power of sin and death over us.

But Jesus also won for us the positive “freedom to” do things beyond our natural power or imagination.  An important second part of Jesus’ rising from the dead was his ascension into heaven, which enabled the sending of his Holy Spirit to us.
Jesus explains in John 16, “If I Go, I will send him to you … He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgement … He will guide you into all truth, and will teach you all things … It is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.”
Through his Holy Spirit, Jesus empowers us with the freedom to see our need to be saved, to hear the truth of the gospel, to repent and turn to Him, by faith to receive his salvation, and to live by his strength and guidance.

And as Jesus fills us with his spirit, He transforms our hearts, to the new heart promised in Ezekiel 36:26.

A heart that frees us to desire to live the new and wonderful life God has planned for us.

It’s the only life that is ultimately satisfying to us, and it takes us along amazing paths we could never have imagined.  It’s a life that is pleasing to God, and in him will never end.


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