As he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:30–36)
My greatest prayer for you. is that you would experience Jesus, the sovereign, risen, living Lord of the universe, as the source and content of real freedom in your life. In order for this to happen, we all need two things: We need God’s liberating truth and we need God’s liberating grace.
I fully believe that everyone reading this wants to be free in the deepest, fullest sense. If the opposite is bondage and slavery, no one here wants that. Some of you may be enslaved to some habits that are very pleasurable, and in that since you may love your slavery. However, I believe that if you would step back from the pleasures and consider happiness without that slavery, I truly believe that you would like to be done with bondage. You would like to be happy in freedom, not a slave to pleasant addictions. We all want to be free.
And in John 8:36, Jesus says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” That is what we are after. “Free indeed.” Really free. Freedom in its deepest and fullest meaning. Jesus offers us that to you. He is alive. He is not mere memory. He is back from the dead with a new glorious body. He is alive and reigning as the king of the universe, and he is making this offer of real freedom to all of us today.
In John 8:32, he says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The people answered him, just as some of us might: We are already free! They say in verse 33, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
They are focusing on some aspects of freedom, but not the one Jesus has in mind. So Jesus clarifies in verse 34, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” Now that is an absolutely walloping statement.
Everyone sins. Therefore, Jesus is saying that everyone is a slave of sin. This means that sin is not just a bad act, but a power underneath in our hearts that makes us do bad acts. We sin because we are sinners.
So our slavery is slavery to this power inside of us. There may be kinds of freedom that we can make for ourselves, but not this one. That’s Jesus’ point. This slavery is too deep. And all of us have it. Jesus alone can set us free. So he says in verse 36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Sin enslaves in two ways. And, therefore, freedom comes in two forms. First, sin enslaves us by producing compelling desires. Sin enslaves by making anything look more desirable than Jesus. That’s what sin is: desiring something above Jesus and then acting on it. And the second way sin enslaves is that it eventually damns us. Unless something intervenes, it leads to hell. I call this slavery because someone might say, “I’m fine with desiring things more than Jesus. Sounds free to me.” But you wouldn’t say that if you saw clearly that the end of that road was destruction.
Jesus alone can free us from these two kinds of slavery: the domination and damnation of sin. He frees us from the damnation of sin by becoming a damnation for us. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). And he frees us from the domination of sin by changing our nature at the root through the new birth. And the essence of the new birth is that he gives us eyes to see that our Savior is more to be desired than anything in the world.
When our sins are forgiven, and God’s wrath is taken away, and we see Jesus as a greater Treasure than all the world, we are freed from both the damnation and the domination of sin. We are free indeed. That’s what Jesus is offering you today.
Only in Christ Jesus is true freedom possible, but remember freedom is only as good as what you choose to do with it. Galatians 5:13 – 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.
You have not been freed to sin, but freed to serve. Go and love your neighbor in the freedom that you’ve been given in Christ today!
Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom,
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious Emancipator,
Now and forever He shall be mine.