Morgan Cockrell Cowell
Worship Leader

2 Corinthians 3:17, Romans 6:17-22

As the world becomes increasingly individualistic, people are blindly searching for more freedom. They want to be unique, different, accepted, successful… you name it, all the while being enslaved to sin and things of this world. It is a never-ending cycle of self-destruction. There is hope. There is a God who can take on all of our mistakes, burdens, and fears. God is waiting for people to turn to Him with His arms open wide. He offers grace, love and freedom from the weighty battles of this life. How can He offer this? Through the sacrificial atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’  death for our sins on the cross, resurrection from the dead, and the power of the Holy Spirit inside all those who believe, we are granted access to live in the freedom He paid for. The song “Freedom” by Jesus Culture is such an encouraging song that reminds us to come as we are to the Father. He is the source of our freedom. The chorus of this worship song says:

“ Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom

There is freedom

Come out of the dark just as you are

Into the fullness of His love

For the Spirit is here, let there be freedom

Let there be freedom “

The idea of freedom can be somewhat abstract. Let’s look at what the word or concept means to different people.

What is freedom?

Here are a few different definitions

  1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint
  2. the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved
  3. Timothy Keller defines it in his book “The Reason for God” as this:

“Freedom is not the absence of limitations and constraints but it is finding the right ones, those that fit our nature and liberate us.

Keller 49

Isn’t that interesting? On one hand, there is an argument for freedom meaning the lack or absence of limitations and constraints, and on the other hand one that says humans need limits and constraints, but the right ones. Mankind is always serving some master, enslaved by things of this earth or by heavenly things. Look around, there is evidence in technology, art, science, economics, etc. No matter what part of the world you are living in, there are people all around you who are consumed – arguably, enslaved – by many different ways of thinking. The outcome of our lives point to what our master is.

Take it from the apostle Paul who writes in the book of Romans:

“Thanks be to God that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, having become slaves of righteousness.”

Romans 6:17-18

Listening to sin as a master brings nothing to be proud of. Nothing to show for your life comes from being a slave to sin. When one turns to God and delights in listening to Him and His ways, freedom to live is abundant. 

Let’s talk more about those necessary limitations in order to experience true freedom. Keller uses the example of a fish in his book. Some people may look at a fish as being restrained inside a body of water and wish for it to be free. They remove the fish from the water to allow it to be free, and what happens? … We’ll keep this PG. 

For Christians, the body of water is the body of Christ. When we submit our lives to obedience and reliance on Him, we are able to let go of being a slave to our sinful human nature and have life. Temptation and trials still exist. Sin intrudes in our lives. No man is perfect even after submitting to Jesus. But, we get to live in this newfound freedom of grace and love.

“Love is the most liberating freedom-loss of all.”

Keller 48

When people engage in a loving relationship, there is some sacrifice needed in order to make the relationship blossom. Making decisions about one’s life now involves the other. The feelings of others in the relationships have to be taken into account and you must lose some independence in order to grow closer. It is the same with God, but he actually did the adjusting first..

“In the most radical way, God has adjusted to us — in His incarnation and atonement. In Jesus Christ He became a limited human being, vulnerable to suffering and death. On the cross, he submitted to our condition — as sinners — and died in our place to forgive us.”

Keller 50

God served us though it meant a sacrifice for Him. That is love. Once the truth and reality of what Jesus did for humanity sinks in, the only appropriate response is to give up all “freedom” found in this life, and live in His freedom.

Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God: belief in the age of skepticism. New York, Penguin Group, 2008.