Updated: Jul 11
True freedom is not emancipation from man but emancipation from the bondage of sin.
This month, we celebrate America’s declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. The declaration was precipitated by the Stamp Act of 1765, which essentially had the colonies fund their own subjugation. The founding fathers preferred liberty over bondage because every human being is “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” including liberty.
The framers of the Declaration of Independence certainly had a delimited understanding of what “all men” meant, but they spoke the truth, nonetheless. Because we are made in God’s image and likeness, there is an inherent dignity that we each possess. We were never meant to be subjected to another human, because we were created to freely and joyfully subject ourselves to God. But when humanity rebelled against God and declared its declaration of independence in the Garden of Eden, the penalty included being subjected to the enslaving impulses of our its newly acquired sin nature. The irony of mankind’s attempt to be free is that it became enslaved.
As born again Christians, we also celebrate our independence from a controlling tyrant called sin. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, those who place their confidence and trust in His identity as God’s one and only Son and purpose to save us from our sins are liberated. According to Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34-36).
Jesus teaches us three principles about the bondage of sin and the liberty He offers.
1. Sin Enslaves People to a Sinful Lifestyle. Sin is not our friend; it is a slave master. Natural freedom should never be confused with spiritual freedom. This was the mistake Jesus’s opponents made. For they based their freedom on their physical ethnicity in Abraham but overlooked their spiritual behavior that reflected Satan. They mistook their natural heritage and religious disciplines for right standing with God. But Jesus corrected their understanding by explaining how a consistent life of sin is a clear indication that one is not free.
Sin is an evil taskmaster. It is not a person, but an impulse that lives within the spirit of unregenerate humans, and its residue still operates in the soul (mind, will, emotions) and body of born again believers. Merrill C. Tenney, says, “Sin enslaves because every act of disobedience to God creates an atmosphere of alienation and a trend to further disobedience that inevitably makes escape impossible.” The unregenerate person is incapable of not practicing sin, because he lacks the power of God in his life to deny the desires of his sinful nature. As a result, he must do what sin desires because sin is his master.
2. A Sinful Lifestyle Makes You a Slave, A Liberated Lifestyle Makes You a Son. When one is not able to do what she wants to do or is forced to do what she doesn’t want to do, she is a slave. Comedian Flip Wilson may not have been totally accurate, but he was on to something when he said, “The devil made me do it.” It wasn’t the devil; it was sin.
Jesus words should strike alarm in the hearts of those who perceive themselves as religious, spiritual but not religious, or pious. For it is not what we label ourselves that determines whether we are free, but how we live our lives on a consistent basis. The person who continually lives a lifestyle of sin is in bondage. He is not a permanent member of the family and can be removed at any given time. A son or daughter, however, is a permanent member of the family and has a guaranteed position.
The children of the house prove their familial ties by the life they live. While sin is unavoidable, it is not habitual. We know their root because we see their fruit.
3. A Lifestyle of Sin Can Only Be Broken by the Liberator Son. Jesus came to emancipate us from sin’s rule in our lives. If sin rules your life, then you are a slave. As the eternal Son of God, Jesus became human and lived a sin-free life, because He does not have a sin nature; He possesses the divine nature because He is God.
Only Christ could free us, and He did this through His sinless life, substitutionary and atoning death, and triumphant resurrection from the dead. He was charged with our guilty sentence before God and subsequent punishment of death so that we could be credited with His right standing before God and subsequent glorification.
Therefore, those who place their faith in the person and work of Jesus are set free by the Son, spiritually free. Free from the controlling power of sin in our spirit. Free from the condemnation that results from an act of sin. Free to live our new life in Christ as the children of God. Hallelujah!
Let’s Celebrate Our Freedom
On July 4, we will celebrate our nation’s founding and our life as a free people. While we are lighting fireworks, feasting on barbeque, and enjoying the holiday of with our families and friends, let us be sure to thank the Father that we are free indeed. Free, not just from foreign or governmental rule, but free from the dominion of sin. Free to be God’s children whose eternal positions are secure in and secured by Jesus Christ.
Rev. Isaac Hayes is the president of Healing of the Soul Ministries. He is also an Assistant Pastor at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, Illinois, and a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Follow Rev. Hayes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @RevIsaacHayes.
 American Colonies Declare Independence from British Empire, Worldhistory.us, July 4, 2017, https://worldhistory.us/american-history/american-colonies-declare-independence-from-british-empire.php.  Merrill C. Tenney, “John,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: John and Acts, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 9 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 95.