The Greatest Freedom
THROUGHOUT HUMAN HISTORY, many lives have been sacrificed in the name of freedom, for religious expression, political ends or simply emancipation from slavery. The word “freedom” itself has been a perennial catchphrase in fueling many wars and revolutions all over the world in the past as well as in the present.
Political and social movements have used the term as a rallying point to eradicate slavery everywhere that woefully continues to exist under the euphemisms “bonded labor” and “human trafficking”. Many nations and countries cry for freedom from tyranny, yet continue to be plagued by corruption, poverty, wickedness, and misery.
There are even acts today that many people perceive as manifestations of freedom and favourable to the welfare of man—like assertion of gay rights, legalized gambling, abortion, legalization of prohibited drugs—but these in fact will bring destruction unto them for they are blatantly against God’s teachings and commandments(1Cor. 6:9-10, Amplified Bible). Truly, freedom has been given various meanings and definitions.
Man ought to realize that freedom in its very essence does not mean being absolutely free. Even in a very perfect setting like the Garden of Eden where God placed the first couple, Adam and Eve, and gave them dominion over the fish, the laws, one of which was the prohibition to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil at the center of the garden, but they disobeyed. And the rest, as biblical records articulate, is history.
Since the fall of Adam and Eve, man has been trying to get out from under the curse on account of sin---that curse being death, because as all men sinned, so death has spread to or has been experienced by the entire human race (Rom. 5:12). So how can man recapture the freedom God gave them originally in paradise? How can man be free? Those who are truly free have been enthusiastically identified by the Savior Himself, thus; “If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free” (John 8:36, Today’s English Version). These people have been set free from “the law of sin and death” (Rom.8:2, 1, Ibid.), hence, the strict instruction to them is that they make sure to stay free and not get tied up again by sin and wickedness.
Man has no alternative for the Savior’s solution because the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23) in the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev. 20:14) on the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. No true Christian would ever discount the great importance of belongings to Jesus by being part of His body or the Church (Col. 1:18), the name of which is Church Of Christ (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation). Man needs the Church Of Christ so as to benefit from the redemptive blood of the Savior, thus, being freed from the shackles of sin and death.
God’s sending of Jesus to die on the cross is a clear expression of His mercy to redeem man. Man’s responsibility then is to do whatever is necessary to preserve and maintain that freedom from sin by maintaining a rightful relationship with God within the Church Of Christ. His ultimate destiny is at stake.
The problem is, there is within man an ever-present desire to sin and commit evil---it is called the sinful nature of man. Apostle Paul powerfully said so; “What I say is this: let the spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature. For what our human nature wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. That you cannot do what you want to do” (Gal.5:16-17, TEV).
Man naturally loves to do evil things---gratifying the cravings and desires of the flesh or human nature---that are just the opposite of what the Spirit or God want. These two forces within man are constantly fighting each other to win control over him.
If man becomes alienated from God because of his prejudice, his carnal passion, or his worldly interest, he is courting his ultimate destruction and death for being enslaved again to sin as vehemently declared by the apostle: “Surely you know that when you surrender yourselves as slaves to obey someone, you are in fact the slaves of the master you obey---either of sin, which results in death, or of obedience, which results in being put right with God. … What did you gain from doing the things that you are now ashamed of? The results of those things is death!”(Rom. 6:16, 21, Ibid.).
Hence, those who live in sin and sheer transgression of God’s laws---living in wanton pleasure and self-gratification---are already considered dead even if they are still alive (I Tim.5:6) for they certainly will end up in hell. Although man possibly can do anything he wants, so much so that he declares himself to be the captain of his soul and destiny---he still is not truly free for he is a slave to sin and death. His life, habits, actions, and reactions are all strongly affected by his immorality.
It is heartbreaking, to say the least, that many people from the moment they wake up in the morning until they fall asleep at night, do not want to be told what to do---that is the concept of freedom people of this world have. It’s no surprise then that such people are counted by God as His enemies, thus: “And so a person becomes an enemy of God when he is controlled by his human nature; for he does not obey God’s law, and in fact he cannot obey it. Those who obey their human nature cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7-8, Ibid.).
The old sinful nature within man---with its carnal thoughts and purposes---is hostile to God. It is not in conformity with God’s laws and ways. That’s why those who are still under the control of their old sinful selves, being bent on following their old evil desires, can never please God.
Does man lose his freedom and subject himself to oppression if he submits completely to the righteousness of God? Apostle Paul spiritedly answers: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Rom. 6:22, New International Version).
How can it ever be considered a “loss of freedom” if what man gains is holiness and eternal life? Great rather is the blessing attained by those freed from sin they have become slaves to God and will earn the present reward of holiness and its end is everlasting life in His kingdom.
In familiar human terms, man must yield his natural limitation to a Christian way of life as the apostle unequivocally states: “Now, the important thing is that your way of life should be as the gospel of Christ requires, so that, whether or not I am able to go and see you, I will hear that you are standing firm with one common purpose and that with only one desire you are fighting together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27, TEV).
One great purpose for which members of the Church Of Christ were redeemed is to proclaim God’s great glory (Rom. 15:5-6, NIV), showing to all that God is worthy to be loved and praised by mirroring in their lives the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. God demands from them to abstain from the abominations that people of this world passionately embraced. As God’s people in the Christian Era, they are no longer distinguished by racial or territorial characteristics but exclusively by living their faith in Christ.
Indeed, human history tells us of many epic stories of man’s struggle and triumph in his quest for freedom from tyranny and oppression; but unless he also is freed from sin and its consequence, which is death in the lake of fire and brimstone, the price he pays for such freedom is in vain. Comparatively, to be a servant of God is extremely desirable, within the true Church Of Christ which Jesus “freed” or redeemed from sin and death, to be such is to look forward to recapturing the “true freedom” and the perfect life in God’s eternal kingdom.