by Ong Eng Boon
So much has been written about the Covid 19 pandemic as the world is facing an unprecedented change due to the fact that the Covid 19 virus doesn’t recognize borders, status, or colour. It looks like worldwide everyone is equal in facing this pandemic together. In Malaysia, the government announced a period of lockdown to restrict the movement of each individual whereby all of us are shut in at home to curb the virus from spreading further.
Many of us are yearning to be set free again from the lockdown and cannot wait for the movement control order to be fully lifted so that we are free again to roam the streets without any restriction.
But there is another form of freedom which we ought to thank God for, which was promised by Jesus Christ Himself in John 8:32 “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Jesus left heaven to come to this earth so that He is able to identify with each of us in all situations and shed His blood on the cross to redeem us and set us free from the bondage of sin by His resurrection.
“31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31-36).
This truth is being proclaimed by Jesus Himself that if we abide in His words, we will be set free (John 8:31,32). Apostle Paul also said the same thing. He said: “17 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. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17,18). Once you obeyed the gospel, you are set free from the clutches of sin! When one is being baptized for the remission of his sins (Act2:38; 22:16) and arising out from the baptistery, we rejoice and sing the following hymn:
I am free, free, free
My Lord has set me free
I have found the Man
The Man of Galilee
He has borne my load
My heavy load of sin
And now I’m singing
Paul in writing to the Christians at Galatia spoke about the freedom in Christ: “4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage)…… Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage……13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 2:4; 5:1,13).
Apostle Peter also said, “16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God” (1 Pet. 2:16).
We have friends who hesitated in becoming Christians as they seem to have the idea that Christians are “killjoys” as we don’t participate in many activities which seem “fun” to them. Some even mock us for not being part of them.
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Pet. 4:1-4).
The source of our liberty is in Christ
We know that we have liberty in Christ (Gal. 2:4). But where does this liberty come from? Jesus said, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). It is clear that the source of our liberty is Christ Himself. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free” (Gal. 5:1). Jesus Himself said the truth set us free (Jn.8:32). What is truth, how do we define bible truth (Jn.18:38)?
When Paul wrote to the brethren in Thessalonica, he commended them because they received his message, not as a mere document from humans “but, as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13). When Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples, He said “17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (Jn.17:17) and Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn.14:6). So we can see truth is Jesus Himself and that God’s word. Jesus through His words set us free from our sins.
Yes, truth can be known. Not only can we know it, we must know it in order to be saved.
“3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).
“2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom.8:2). James talked about “the perfect law of liberty” (Jas.1:25). “12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty” (Jas.2:12).
The law of the Spirit and the perfect law of liberty is the New Testament which we need to obey in order to have real freedom!
What kind of freedom do we have in Christ?
Sometimes young people cannot wait to get out of being under the supervision of their parents. When they leave overseas for their tertiary education or move out to live on their own, they exclaim, “I am finally free!”
The freedom which we have in Christ is the freedom from the bondage of sin. “……whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (Jn. 8:34). Before we come to know the gospel of Christ we are slaves of sin, but when the gospel was preached to us and we obey the terms and conditions by being baptized into Christ, we are set free from sin.
“17 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. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17,18).
We are dead to sin, alive in Christ!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1,2).
We need to continually walk in the light. If we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all sins.
“7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).
In Christ, not only do we have all spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3), we are also set free from the following:
1. Free from the old law as Jesus has nailed the old law to the cross
“14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Col. 3:14).
“14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (Eph. 2:14-16).
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).
2. Free from the fear of death
“14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14,15).
3. Free from the wrath of God.
“9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:9,10).
4. Escape from the pollutions of this world “ …… escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 2:20).
5. Free from ignorance, superstitions and human traditions and serve the living God.
“……and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess 1:9).
Let us continue to use our liberty in Christ as obedient children to serve God for we are all bondservants of God.
“14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:14).
“16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God” (1 Pet. 2:16).