Free! I Mean Really Really Free!

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32 (ESV)

We’ve all seen the movie.  The convict has served his time.  He sits before the parole board, three stern looking people who decide the prisoner has paid his debt to society and can now go free.  Soon the (now) ex-convict is standing at the prison wall between two guards.  The gates swing open wide, the reformed criminal nods a final farewell to his minders and, with some slight trepidation, steps into the glorious freedom of the outside world.

For someone who has been incarcerated for many years, the return to society must be quite disorienting.  Mind you, my experience with the penal system goes no deeper than Johnny Cash at Folsom PrisonThe Shawshank RedemptionCool Hand Luke and a documentary I once watched about Angola State Prison.

Still, I can’t help but think that readjustment to the outside world must be tough.

For Christians, accepting God’s forgiveness can be tough as well.  We are used to living with sin.  It surrounds us.  It invades us.

But, when we seek the Lord and ask His forgiveness, repenting of our sins and choosing to follow His will, we are like the convict before the parole board.  We are now set free.  The sins of the past are gone.  Our record is expunged.  The gates swing open wide and, with great joy and relief, we step into the glorious freedom of Jesus our Savior.

That freedom is permanent.  We are no longer slaves to sin.  We are enslaved to Christ, which is truly no enslavement at all.  We have no fear.  We have no doubt.  We walk in grace and mercy and truth.

Through the freedom of forgiveness, we experience the deep profundity of the love of God.  And it can be hard to accept.  There are people who want to make sure we remember our sins, who do not wish to forgive.  

Still, we are forgiven.

There are those who insist on their own set of rules by which to live. They forget that Jesus saves, not the law.  The law defines right and wrong, and sets the parameters by which we should live.  But it provides no forgiveness.

Still, we are forgiven.

Sometimes we ourselves simply cannot get past our pasts.  We cannot forgive ourselves for our wrongs, no matter how large or small.  We can’t see how anyone else could ever forgive us.

Still, we are forgiven.

Understand, sin is a very heavy matter.  It is sin that brings about death.  And yet, we are put right through the saving grace of Jesus Christ as a gift – not something that can be earned, but a free gift from a freeing God Who came to take away our sins that we may live in eternal freedom.

Today I want to encourage you to walk in the glorious freedom that the Lord has given you.  Accept it.  Do not spend another minute weighted down by guilt, or fear, or anger, or unforgiveness.  Recognize as a fact that, in Jesus Christ, your record is clean. You are free.

You are free!

Sin is not permanent.  It is universal (all of us suffer from the sin affliction).  Only God is truly eternally permanent.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:35-36 (ESV)

Amen!  Now… go revel someone in your God-given freedom.  And help someone else with their heavy load.




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