‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1).’
‘…… if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).’
In the Western World we take freedom for granted. The two Great Wars were fought to maintain freedom, not only in the Europe, but also to champion it in the rest of the world. Freedom without harassment, freedom to live peaceably (Romans 12:18), freedom of speech, freedom to practice religions of choice, freedom to travel, freedom to trade – many such freedoms are cherished by those who are noble in mind (Acts 17:11) and in heart (Luke 8:15).
Freedom with Responsibility
No one is free to do whatever they please, especially if their actions adversely affect others. With freedom there comes responsibility, and that means having respect for others (1 Peter 2:17) who may not think as you do, or have the same moral and ethical values. With freedom there must be tolerance, but never when others try to take freedom away (2 Corinthians 11:20). Freedom is paramount.
No one is entirely free except God, the Creator of all things (John 1:3). He can do just as He pleases (Romans 9:15). Nothing can stop Him. He is *all-powerful, all-knowing and omnipresent, but at the same time He is holy, righteous, merciful and loving, and His desire is for His chosen ones to enter into His freedom – to know and experience His love.
While His creatures are alive on this temporary globe He gives to all ‘limited’ freedom. Unlike Him they can’t be in all places at the same time; they don’t know all things, and they are but grasshoppers (Isaiah 40:22) by comparison, with no strength whatsoever.
However, they can move and operate within their environments, i.e., they are free, but only within the constraints of their physicality, spatial containment, and within time. Take, for example, a prisoner who is incarcerated in a cell. For as long as he is there he can only move within its confines. His freedom of movement is severely restricted. He is free to think, for as long as he is conscious, and if his brain is functioning sufficiently well for him to do so. His captors may try to brainwash him, as is the case with **Muslims in China who are locked-up in so-called schools of re-education. Their mind-benders may well succeed in reshaping their thoughts through their repressive draconian regime.
Had God not given men freedom to make choices (Deuteronomy 30:19) that are, or are not, acceptable to Him (Psalm 19:14) He could not hold them accountable on the day of judgment (1 John 4:17). Although all things are ***predestined, people are free to make decisions and to take actions. God places no restraint on them in this respect. Therefore they are accountable for all that they do and say (Matthew 12:36, 37).
Paul, the Apostle, said all things are possible, but not all things are profitable, or right to do (1 Corinthians 10:23).
As a Christian, I am free to sin, but it is not my desire to sin. I have, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the ability not to sin. If I am enslaved to the flesh (Romans 7:25) I am not of the Spirit and I am not free not to sin, but if I am born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8) my freedom is in Christ; for He has made me free, and I am free indeed (John 8:36)! I am free not to sin, and I am free from the power of sin (Romans 3:9) and the penalty of sin (Romans 6:5-7).
You might present the argument that God is unjust, because He finds those who have not been ‘born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5)’ guilty; for only those who have been born of the Spirit can make decisions that please Him (Hebrews 11:6). They are ‘saved through faith,’ and that is ‘the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).’
Paul makes the case that God is righteous (Romans 9:14) and He can rightly and justly do as He pleases. All deserve hell for their rebellion against Him (Romans 1:18-32; 3:23), but in His mercy He chooses some for salvation (9:14-24).
True freedom is found in love (Galatians 5:13, 14). God is love (1 John 4:8) and those in Him are free. If they are in Christ, they are in the Father (John 14:10). If the Spirit dwells in them (1 Corinthians 3:16), they are in the Son and the Father.
Have you ever wondered about freedom in the ‘new earth’ (Revelation 21:1)? A foretaste of that can be seen in the resurrected Christ. His spiritual body was not restricted to physical space; it was not restricted by time, although He manifested Himself in time (Acts 1:3). His body could pass through solid structures (John 20:19) and it could ascend into the ice-cold sky (Acts 1:9, 10), an environment where blood-warm humans soon perish. His resurrected nature was different to our mortal nature. He was Spirit, and indeed He is Spirit (John 4:24). As such He is totally free.
When it comes to our ****resurrection we shall be like Him (Romans 6:5; 1 John 3:2) who is totally free.
“Hallelujah! Give Him the praise”.
*The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God
**Xinjiang Re-education Camps