Free Indeed

They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
John 8:33

One of my favorite “old” movies is Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston.

The story of the freeing of the Hebrew slaves from bondage in Egypt is the basis for the Jewish Passover celebration and is also pivotal to Christianity.

There is no doubt at all that the Children of Israel spent years enslaved to the Egyptians about 1400 years before the birth of Christ.

They also were in a sort-of bondage to the Assyrians and the Babylonians, Medes, and Persians – although not strictly slaves in this case.

By the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire was in control of Israel. Again, not strictly speaking slavery but oppressed nonetheless, as another favorite “old” movie of mine depicts, again starring Charlton Heston – this time in “Ben Hur.”

Knowing this history of Israel, it has always struck me strange that the Jewish opponents of Jesus in John 8 make the proud statement that they “have never been enslaved to anyone.”

Really? Come on, guys!

Surely, they knew their own history. They read about it and celebrate it every spring as Passover!

Of course Jesus is talking about true, spiritual freedom from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

I contend that these Jews also knew what Jesus was talking about – spiritual slavery and freedom.

In that case, they are certainly correct. The covenant of God with Abraham involved his – and his family’s – true spiritual freedom. Even though they would be enslaved by the Egyptians, they were still truly free because of their faith in God.

But that freedom was always rooted in the Savior that God promised to send.

The first promise of that Savior was to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15. The promise was passed down through Adam’s family tree via his son Seth. The promise went through Noah and Shem on down to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

But here’s where Jesus’ opponents got it wrong. They had the culmination of God’s promise of spiritual freedom standing right in front of them and they were rejecting him!

When Jesus says, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” he meant that they should continue in the faith in the Savior – which was him! – as did their ancestors.

Freedom is a wonderful thing. But unless you have an understanding, or experience a lack, of freedom, I don’t think you can truly grasp the magnitude of freedom.

Those of African descent who were brought to the United States as slaves have a distinct perspective on freedom. It was something they always hoped for. And something they rejoiced in finally having when Abraham Lincoln presented his Emancipation Proclamation which directly led to the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution abolishing slavery.

If you have never endured the scourge of slavery, it is hard to understand fully what freedom really is.

But you and I are in bondage. We are in bondage to sin. We are conceived and born in this slavery.

“By his own powers he is not able to aid, do, work, or agree in working anything toward his conversion. He cannot do this fully, halfway, or even in part—not even in the smallest or most trivial part. He is sin’s [slave] and the devil’s captive….” (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration Art. II – Free Will, or Human Powers – quoted from A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord, © 2005, 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO p 521)

Bad news, indeed! But there is good news! Jesus announced and implemented his own Emancipation Proclamation!

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

And that is exactly what Jesus did! The Son of God sets us free! He took our sin and paid the cost of our sin on the cross. He freed us from sin, death, and the devil!

We are free, indeed!

But free to do what?

Free to live. Free to love. Free to proclaim this freedom to other slaves of sin.

Let us continue to proclaim our emancipation from sin in Jesus Christ!

©2017 True Men Ministries


Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.