I’ve only known him for about three months. A fellow preacher with too much on his schedule asked me to assist a man in a local jail who had requested Bible studies. I’ve met with him several times, and have developed an interest in him. He was released the other day; he’s now free. But is he really free?
Jesus claimed to be the source of true freedom. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” He stated in John 8:32 (NKJV). When his hearers protested that they were already free, Jesus responded: “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). According to that, no one is really free until they become a devoted disciple of Christ.
Paul further developed that thought in Romans 6. In urging Christians to put sin behind them, he argued that we should view ourselves as slaves. Slaves? Weren’t we talking about freedom? Stay with him on this important point: “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17,18).
It’s not realistic to think that we can be free of everything. My friend, now out of jail, is free from his confinement, but he is not free from his responsibility to abide by the laws of the land. One who submits to the Lordship of Jesus is made free, but he is not free from everything.
The essential question is this: To whom or to what should I be subject? And before making that decision, I need to consider the consequences of the choices before me.
Paul dealt with that issue, too. “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (Romans 6:20-22).
Notice Paul’s use of the word “end” (another word for “consequence”), found twice in those three verses. And what are the consequences before us? Either death or life. Choose freedom from righteousness and death is your reward. Allow Christ to free you from sin, and you will enjoy life, both temporal and eternal.
Thus, being freed from jail is no guarantee that my friend will be free indeed. His only hope of true freedom is to submit himself to the Son of God. I’m working hard to help bring him to that ultimate liberation.
Only through Jesus Christ can we know true freedom