Anytime that we discuss freedom as it relates to believers in the kingdom of God, we must realize that freedom means different things to different people!
In Acts 22, an incident in the life of Paul powerfully illustrates the New Testament truth regarding Christian freedom in the kingdom of God!
Paying a High Price!
And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. (As a Roman Citizen or a FREE man, Paul had rights!) And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this FREEDOM. And Paul said, But I was born FREE. —Acts 22:25-28 (KJV)
Freedom meant something totally different to the Roman captain than to Paul.
Many today believe that their Christian May freedom is obtained by ‘paying a high price’—hard work, moral discipline, personal sacrifice! They think that if you sacrifice much in zealous pursuits of Christian discipline, you are ultimately rewarded with victory and freedom.
But I like what Paul said, “Maybe your freedom cost you a high price, but I was born FREE.” Before we can understand and experience true freedom, we have to know that it’s not something we obtain through personal sacrifice, we are born into it!
That doesn’t mean that our freedom was without cost. It came at a very high cost—THE LIFE OF THE SON OF GOD. The degree to which you understand and believe in the freedom you are born into in Christ is the degree of true freedom you will experience in everyday life!
Freedom of the Heart
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he [man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
“Thinketh” means “to calculate; to put a valuation on.” “What” and “who” we value in our hearts determines where we go and what we become! Therefore, the way I believe about God and our relationship, controls the way I see and relate to myself and others.
Before we can understand and experience true freedom, we have to know that it’s not some- thing we obtain through personal sacrifice, we are born into it!
True Freedom Starts at a Heart Level!
All the experiences of our lives, can be directly linked to the condition of our hearts or our belief system! (Prov. 4:20-23)
You can be a God-fearing, Holy Spirit-filled, Bible-quoting, morally-disciplined Christian, living in a reclusive commune! But if your beliefs are still deeply rooted in performance religion, you’ll never be free from the destructive behaviors and bondage that dominate your life.
Unfortunately this is the sad reality of many Christians in the church today.
Knowing the Truth Will Set You Free
The Jews served God based on performance religion that unknowingly kept them in bondage. Jesus said to them:
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? —John 8:31-33 (KJV)
They didn’t even recognize the religion they were in. They thought that everything was just great!
They served God under a system governed by rules, regulations and performance that could never make them acceptable before God. This is what they needed to be set free from, and it’s the same for many today.
Jesus said, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” That truth is relationship with God—free from legalism, self- righteousness and the guilt of the law! Jesus came to give us freedom and abundant life in Him. Celebrate the freedom you were born into every day!