Freedom of The Soul
Freedom is one of those words, an idea, which is the embodiment of much of what one believes. If you believe that your ultimate goal in life is to live according to your own desires then you will define freedom as meaning that you have the right to do whatever it is you please even if immoral. Contrastingly, if you foundationally believe that your goal is to glorify God, then freedom is the ability to live a life that is pleasing to Him, it is the right to live according to the standards He has set in His Word. If you live with an entitled attitude you will almost certainly take the freedoms you have now for granted not realizing the precious price that was paid by your forefathers for them. Freedom, both the concept and the pursuit of it, truly demonstrates much of one’s underlying beliefs and life.
The reality is that freedom is not up for us to declare its meaning nor is it optional whether or not we pursue it. Freedom is defined by God and it is our duty before Him to strive after it both for ourselves and others. Galatians 5:1 says:
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” -Galatians 5:1
Biblically speaking, freedom starts at the soul level. A person could live in a “free nation” and yet still be a slave to sin. It is through Christ alone that we are freed from the bondage of sin in order to serve the living God. All human beings are born into bondage, we are born enslaved by sin. Our natural state is not freedom, it is enslavement. Therefore, if we are to be free, we need the action of Christ on our behalf who breaks the bonds of sin and raises us to new life in Himself. The life of sanctification is living out this reality of freedom by serving God through giving of ourselves for others according to His law:
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” -Galatians 5:13-14
Our freedom has a teleios, a purpose. We are to pursue living a life that is pleasing before God. This is on the basis of what Christ has done in casting aside the chains that once held us in captivity. This is the ground of true freedom and as Christians, we are called to embody this in every aspect of our life.
Freedom From Tyranny
Once a man has been freed from the tyranny of his sin he must not submit to the tyranny of another’s sin. Therefore, those who are believers in Christ with freed souls will not look at a civil magistrate acting sinfully and bow before their unrighteous edicts. Knowing their souls were freed empowered Daniel to keep praying to his God, the Apostles to keep preaching the Gospel, and it gave Paul the ability to call out the unjust edicts of the authorities above him (see Daniel 6, Acts 5, and Acts 16). One who has been freed is not going to stand idly by when another tries to keep them from living out their duty before God. Indeed, because their conscience is set free from sin and captive to Christ Jesus they will be able to resist being ensnared by sin, tyrants, or unjust decrees.
This point lies as one of the foundational reasons for Christians striving to pursue freedom in the nation. God sets sinners free from their sin and He freed His people from bondage under Egypt (Judges 6:8-10). A believer seeking freedom in their nation is striving after what God Himself seeks after, freedom is not strictly the ability to do as you choose. If that were true, then a man raping a woman would be an act of freedom, it would be perverse to hold such a debased ethical standard. Whenever we advocate for freedom this would mean that we seek to uphold the righteous standards of God’s Word in the land. We want our laws to be based on biblical principles, not the lies of the world. Our objective must be to see that the government stays within its God-ordained function and does not creep into areas that are not part of its duty. Beyond all of this, we must individually pursue freedom in our own lives.
According to the Apostle Paul in Galatians, we pursue freedom by living pleasing to God through serving others according to the Scripture. The Old Testament psalmists viewed the law of God as their delight (see Psalm 119). Our clear application is to run in freedom by living in submission to the Scripture in every realm. We must kill any remaining sin that is present in our lives and strive after obedience to the holy commands of Christ. Our minds must be filled with understanding to live freely in the physical world by first stewarding what God has given to us. Organize well, use your financial resources wisely, pursue bodily health, and keep your mind in order. A man should pursue what will make him excel as a provider, protector, and leader of those to whom God has called him. Women should seek to grow in their callings serving with excellence as nurturers and supporters in their homes, churches, and communities.
We often talk about freedom, but we only do so at the political level. That point needs clear discussion, but freedom does not pertain to that realm alone. One who pursues freedom over what God has called them to will have a robust biblical thought process to bring to matters of government. However, if we pursue political freedom without freed souls then we will wind up ensnared by an idea of freedom, not its true embodiment. We will want “freedom” without the responsibility. The pursuit of freedom is indeed a Christian virtue. It begins with the individual and spreads from that point. May we each live it well for the sake of the Lord who has set us free!