Our episode today will be brief and straightforward. We will be talking out freedom. Here are three verses that speak of the freedom of God and the freedom that He imparts to those who follow Him.
II Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” In John 8:32 and 36 Jesus says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” In Luke 4:18 Jesus preaches and says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed …”
In today’s episode, the single point to be made is this: biblically speaking, true freedom is not having the mere ability to choose between alternatives. If that were the case, a man would be said to be truly free if he had the option of hurting one person publically or many people privately. He would simply be “free” to choose between two different means of evil. Biblically speaking, what true freedom is is having the inclination to do that which is in the will of God. That is to say, true freedom is not anthropomorphic; it’s theocentric. It’s not proportional to potential options; it is directly linked to the nature of the one choosing. Accordingly, the redemptive work of Christ sets a person free so that they are no longer in bondage to choose based on a sinful inclination; with Holy Spirit-gifted new life, a person is now able to necessarily choose that which aligns with the nature and will of God. A man is set free to do God’s will for that is the path of life. For what value is your freedom if you choose that which is against God’s will? The invariable result is death. That is the power of godless freedom.
Consider what Jonathan Edwards says in The Freedom of the Will:
[G]od himself has the highest possible freedom, according to the true and proper meaning of the term; and that he is in the highest possible respect an agent, and active in the exercise of his infinite holiness; though he acts therein in the highest degree necessarily: and his actions of this kind are in the highest, most absolutely perfect manner virtuous and praiseworthy; and are so, for that very reason, because they are most perfectly necessary.
In plain English the point Edwards was making is that a person ought never to think of freedom without a consideration of God, who is the most free being that exists. And is God “free” to sin? He is not because of His holy nature which yields no inclination to sin. God is only free to do that which aligns with His perfectly holy and righteous will. What results are choices and acts that are perfectly virtuous and good. Even more, there is a manifestation of divine glory, the experience of joy, and the sweet excellence of pure delight. Now if God choosing only virtue is what perfect freedom looks like, then why would we ever taint the idea of freedom to include the inclination or the option to do something contrary to the will of God from a corrupt human nature? After all, in Genesis 3, was it not Adam looking outside the will of God and subsequently sinning—is that not what got humanity into trouble in the first place? The so-called freedom to sin only seems like the more profitable option before a person acts and then experiences both the misery of sin and reaps all the consequences of wickedness. It is only then that they realize they are slaves to death.
I live in a country (the United States) where people champion their individual rights and liberties. And truly, individual rights and liberties are not inherently evil. But of what value is said freedom if said free choices result in sin which a holy God must judge? Beloved, according to God, being free does not mean doing whatever you want to do, when you want to do it, and how you want to do it. Being free actually means doing what is right in God’s eyes. Unregenerate man cannot obey God, which means he is the most enslaved when he feels the most free. True freedom comes only with the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, who creates a new person with a new heart and a new mind and who now, through Christ, seeks to do that which God has called Him to.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal