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John 8: 36

If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

We celebrate, today, the United States’ day of liberation. It is the day citizens stop and remember the lives and fortunes which were willingly sacrificed so that we might be free. This isn’t an idea which is restricted to the United States of America nor is it an ideal which is limited to corporate freedom. Personal liberty is every bit as important as political freedom. I would argue that neither is possible without Christ. This Fourth of July I ask you to think about your own personal liberty. Are you truly free?

Personal freedom, the liberty of our souls, is what Jesus was talking about in this verse. The people who responded to him kept thinking in terms of physical liberty. Remember, this is a people who were living with Roman occupation. Certainly their way of life was constrained by a political power but they considered themselves free. They said, “We are Abraham’s offspring, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone” (v. 33). Jesus was talking about being enslaved to someone. He wasn’t talking about physical liberty. He answered them saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (v. 34). Jesus knows that our sin is prison from which we do not have the strength to free ourselves. Perhaps we can gain for ourselves partial freedom but not only is it incomplete, it is usually temporary as well. When Jesus sets us free, though, we are free indeed.

Like these men in the eighth chapter of John, most of us believe we are not slaves to anything or anyone, but I wonder. How many habits, social mores, customs, thoughts and old injuries are we actually imprisoned by? What would life truly look like if there were not imprisoning restraints? True freedom requires surrender. Isn’t that ironic? If we will give over our power and our control to Jesus and infuse it with trust then he can set us free and then we will be free indeed.

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