In a secular context ‘free,’ according to Webster and Wikipedia, means ‘…enjoying civil and political liberty; enjoying political independence or freedom…’
In this column the primary Greek word politeia is used for ‘freedom’ which is synonymous with ‘liberty’ and ‘deliverance’ in the Bible; hence our English word politics.
The Bible; however, defines freedom as being delivered from the philosophy of the world and the source of such thinking. When a person is delivered from something, they are delivered to something which replaces their previous condition or ideology.
A major Biblical premise is for one to be delivered from enslavement to sin, to freedom from such bondage.
The Jews had a very difficult time accepting this new teaching revealed by Jesus and confirmed by the apostles. They couldn’t accept that real ‘freedom’ was a matter of faith and a gift. Their human logic dictated that personal effort was required to please God.
Perhaps the greatest purpose of Paul’s message to the Christians in Rome was the insufficiency of the ‘law’ and the sufficiency of faith.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
And then Paul revealed that not only was man born in bondage to sin, but creation itself was in bondage as the result of sin, awaiting redemption or the release from that bondage.
“…because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption (decay) into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans 8:21
In his letter to the Galatians Paul spoke in great detail about the two sons of Abraham; i.e. Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was born according to the flesh while Isaac was born as a result of the promise God made to Abraham that he would father a son by his 90 year old wife Sarah.
Abraham believed in God to do the humanly impossible and his faith ‘was accounted to him for righteousness.’
Paul expounded more on the truth that faith delivers believers from the bondage of sin.
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life…” Romans 6:22-23
Paul also stressed that the required payment for sin was a free gift of God.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32
‘Delivered’ in the context above is also synonymous with ‘give’ in Greek. Note the emphasis on ‘free’ and ‘give.’ What a gift!
Paul presented another succinct example to stress the free gift of salvation by faith.
“…being justified freely (without cost) by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith…” Romans 3:24-25
God offered His Son as a propitiation (act of mercy) for us. Therefore, we have been justified (acquitted) freely by God’s grace. Even our faith is a gift of God.
In the final two chapters in the Bible, God confirms that eternal life is given freely to all who ‘thirst’ for it.
“…I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.” Revelation 21:6b, 22:17b
Now let’s put this all in perspective in view of the present political climate.
True freedom is much more than political freedom as defined by Webster. Biblical freedom is the deliverance from the bondage and consequence of sin. Such deliverance is a free gift.
The ‘world’ is Biblically defined as the majority of mankind who reject the reality of Christ. Such will not participate in the ultimate freedom.
Therefore, is there confusion when our politicians boast that America is the most exceptional nation in the ‘free world?’
Everyone has the freedom to choose their perception of freedom.
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