By Norman E. Fultz
Freedom! Liberty! Two words that stir deep emotions in the hearts of any oppressed or their sympathizers! With these words throngs can be mustered to support various causes or movements. The masses of marches from South Africa to Eastern Europe and even in Moscow lately have been crying out for more freedom – of movement, of expression, of economics, of personal enterprise. Great sacrifices have been made to attain or to maintain freedom for oneself or for others. The lovers of liberty will gladly risk life or limb. Patrick Henry’s immortal “Give me liberty or give me death” expresses the extreme importance attached to being free. The pages of history, both of the distant and more recent past, and that which is being currently written, recount the struggles of men to be free from various forms of oppression and bondage. And those who become the emancipators of those in bondage are destined for their place in the sun. But liberty once gained is not thereafter guaranteed without diligence on the part of the recipients. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” and diligent souls must keep watchful eyes for anything that would encroach.
There are many kinds of bondage – ignorance, superstition, political, psychological, fear, etc. But the greatest, because of its consequences, is spiritual bondage, the bondage of sin. “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (Jn. 8:34). “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
With many, the word “sin” is outmoded as they seek to cast off all restraint and exult in being their own person, “free spirits.” Having listened to the hawkers of loose living (“Do your own thing … .. You only go around once, so get all the gusto you can get,” “If it feels good, do it”) and the evangelists of “alternate lifestyles” who were promising liberty, they have been brought into bondage (2 Pet. 2:18-19). The escape promised by alcohol and other drugs and the sexual revolution have instead become entrapments. The resulting addiction and life threatening diseases have become matters of national concern, but the problem is one of sin.
From this bondage, there is an Emancipator, a Deliverer – Jesus Christ. Of his own power to free Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth, and the truth shall make you free… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:31-32,36). Paul admonished the Galatian saints, “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).
While many of the areas of freedom demanding attention of mankind are worthy, the greatest freedom one can pursue is that freedom from spiritual bondage; for like godliness, it has promise of life that now is and of that which is to come (1 Tim. 4:8). Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).
Friend, you need no longer be enslaved to sin. You can be delivered, set free in Christ! Paul reminded the Romans that “so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). And a bit later he exultantly declared, “God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Rom. 6:17). That freedom can be yours as well if you, like they, will obey the glorious gospel of Jesus. “Being then made free from sin” you will become “the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:18).
So, kind reader, as the grand old hymn invites:
If you are tired of the load of your sin,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
If you desire a new life to begin,
Let Jesus come into your heart.
And finally, let all who enjoy this freedom never cease in diligent effort to sound forth the good news of freedom in Christ.
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 12, p. 371
June 21, 1990