Freedom is a complex and multifaceted concept, and its definition can vary depending on the context, religious perspective, philosophical perspective and cultural influences. Generally, freedom refers to the state of being free, liberated or exempt from external control, coercion or interference. For this reason, amongst others many humans, and unfortunately many Christians, fail to fully grasp, understand or walk in freedom.
Freedom expresses itself in a diverse array of facets to include individual liberty, autonomy, political freedom, civil liberties, freedom from oppression, economic freedom, existential freedom and freedom of choice. Above all reigns the freedom that is found in Christ’s words: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Freedom is a precious gift from God. John 8:36 is a powerful declaration for the promise of God that we can live free. Jesus is speaking to a group of Jews, and the verse reads as follows: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” This statement by Jesus is part of a larger conversation in which he addresses the people about the truth that brings freedom.
In the preceding verses, Jesus is discussing the concept of slavery to sin and how knowing the truth can bring freedom. He emphasizes that everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. In contrast, those who abide in his word will know the truth, and the truth will set them free (John 8:31-32). John 8:36 specifically highlights the role of the Son (referring to Jesus) in bringing true freedom. The phrase “So if the Son sets you free” underscores the idea that liberation from the bondage of sin comes through Jesus Christ. It signifies a spiritual freedom, where individuals are no longer enslaved to the power and consequences of sin.
The phrase “you will be free indeed” emphasizes the completeness and certainty of the freedom offered by Jesus. It’s not just a partial or temporary liberation but a profound and lasting freedom in the spiritual sense.
In this context, the verse is conveying a profound theological truth within Christian doctrine, emphasizing the transformative power of faith in Jesus Christ to liberate individuals from the enslavement of sin, providing them with genuine and enduring freedom.
Imagine with me for a moment, as Bishop J. Barrett Taylor (pastor of NU Destiny Christian Church, Indianapolis) did in a recent conversation, if we who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior walked in the freedom Christ describes in this verse. Imagine if we didn’t paint Christianity as a religion of rules and restrictions but rather, as a faith walk of freedom from the sins and oppression of fleshly desires and worldly ideologies. Imagine truly understanding that we can rise about our ills and woes and walk free. Imagine embracing the fact that we are free indeed.
I want to challenge my reader to accept the freedom Jesus Christ spoke profoundly over all who walk with Christ. You and I are no longer a slave to sin, depressive thoughts, oppressive systems and destructive actions. In Christ, we are free indeed.
Dr. Preston T. Adams, III is Founding and Senior Pastor of Amazing Grace Christian Church (Indianapolis). Follow him on Twitter @DrPrestonTAdams.