Yesterday was Independence Day here in the United States. On the Fourth of July each year, we celebrate our country’s decision in 1776 to separate itself from British rule and become a sovereign nation. 

For all our country’s problems – and we have many – I can’t think of any other place I’d rather live. Much of my viewpoint stems from the many freedoms granted to us in our Constitution and its Bill of Rights. I’m thankful for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the freedom to assemble, and so many other kinds of freedom. I honestly can’t imagine living elsewhere.

With one exception. 

There’s one freedom that can’t be given to me by any government or human entity. It’s a freedom that has nothing to do with my earthly residence. It’s freedom in Christ.

In John chapter eight, Jesus and his critics argue about the issue of paternity, his and theirs. Jesus claims that God is his Father, they claim that Abraham is their father. Jesus says their spiritual father is Satan and they accuse him of blasphemy. But within this lengthy conversation, Jesus makes three assertions about freedom that are noteworthy.

  • “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’” (John 8.31-32).
  • “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin’” (John 8.34).
  • “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8.36).

There are many forms of enslavement, and none of them are good. But Jesus is talking about the dangers of enslavement to sin. To commit sin is to become the slave of sin. We become a slave to the guilt, shame, and habit of sin.

But Jesus says that to follow him and feed on his lifegiving word is what gives us freedom. To be a disciple of Jesus brings freedom from the guilt of sin, its shame, and its power. We don’t have to live with uncertainty, guilt, fear, and shame.’’

Finally, Jesus asserts that only he, as the Son of God, can grant us the truest freedom of all. In Jesus’ day, children and slaves often grew up together. Slave children, however, weren’t treated as family. Jesus said that as the Son, he could grant freedom and they could become children of their heavenly Father. 

As Americans, we have a lot of freedom. As children of God, we have even greater freedom. May God help us to live like free men and women!