“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31-32 ESV)
With presidential elections looming this year, you can guarantee that there will be a lot of talk about freedoms. The freedom to bear arms, the freedom to have or not have health insurance, the freedom to practice your faith publicly, these things and more will be on the lips of voters and politicians alike.
But what is freedom really? Human nature tells us that freedom is the ability to live your life in any way you choose without interference from individuals or government. Many of us live by that creed. “Don’t tread on me” flies on many flagpoles in our little corner of the Ozarks. I understand the sentiment. But God has not defined freedom through political and societal lenses.
The freedom that God offers makes us free regardless of who’s in power in the White House. It makes us free regardless of how society defines liberty. Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He said this to Jews who had been enslaved to Roman authority. They weren’t free to govern themselves. They were in bondage. Even if the Romans were fair, they weren’t free. Yet, Jesus says to them, even in this circumstance you can be free!
The freedom offered by Jesus allows us to have liberty from our greatest threat: the sins that separate us from God. If you haven’t believed that Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of God, who suffered the full wrath of God, substituting himself for you on the cross, died, and rose from death, then you remain in your sins and are a slave to those sins. You couldn’t stop sinning if you tried. Only once you have been born anew in Christ are you free from sin’s slavery.
Perhaps you are a believer. You have believed and received salvation through Christ, yet you find yourself still wrestling with the same sins again and again. Being saved doesn’t mean you never sin again, but it does mean you now have the power and desire to stop sinning. Look again to what Jesus said: “If you abide in my word . . . you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” In other words, the truth you know will set you free. If you know little truth, you will experience little freedom. If you know much truth, you will experience much freedom!
For the lost and for the saved, the answer is still Jesus. Knowing him means freedom. And it is a freedom that endures, regardless of circumstances, regardless of who’s president, and regardless of what society believes is liberating.