Freedom has a price, and in a time of war, we are reminded of it continually. Yet, at the same time freedom is priceless! Freedom is one of the ideals upon which our nation was founded as the famous Gettysburg Address proclaims. However, freedom is not a desire belonging only to Americans. No, freedom is one of mankind’s greatest desires. There seems to be a longing from within all of us for freedom, and I am not referring to our longings to be politically self-determining. Social and political freedoms are precious possessions, and if we will use them unselfishly; they are a blessing, in this life, to others. Even so, we must pursue the greater freedom afforded us by God in Christ Jesus. It is far more precious than political freedoms, in that, it offers eternal blessings to all who will accept it.
In Jesus’ day the Jews had a hard time distinguishing between the political freedoms God had given them, as a nation to accomplish His purpose in bringing about the Messiah to bless the whole world (Gen 12:2–3), and the blessing of true freedom, freedom from sin and condemnation, that He was offering them in Christ. They desired political freedom, in this world, so much that they had a difficult time accepting the true freedom God offered them in Jesus (John 5:39).
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”. . . if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:31–33, 36 NIV).
Hopefully, we, who stand firm, will take heed lest we fall prey to a similar temptation (1Cor 10:12–13). The Jews wanted God’s promise to them to be according to their own desires for what they understood to be freedom, but true freedom was according to the truth of God’s word in Jesus’ teaching. Social and political freedoms have their place in this life, but we must remember God has given us these, for His purpose. God, in His sovereignty, sets up Kings and deposes them (Dan 2:21). However, of all the freedoms we enjoy, the true freedom that God offers us, in His Son (John 8:36; Rom 8:1), through the truth of His word (John 8:32), should be our treasured possession – for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt 6:21). May God grant us the wisdom and discernment to seek and treasure the freedom for which we long!