I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to have freedom in Christ and what it means to truly live in that freedom. I know that I am free in God through the blood of Jesus and that, through Him, I am no longer held captive to sin. Even though I know this, it is hard most days to actually live in that freedom. It is like God has taken my chains off, but I am still living in the prison cell and thinking of myself as a criminal and a prisoner. As much as I remind myself that I am free in Him, I don’t think I really know what that means so I am not able to really experience and understand my freedom. Over the next few days, weeks, and months, I plan to look at what the Bible says about freedom so that I can better understand it and then better live in it. I am hoping that I will learn how to truly live freely in my freedom!
I decided the best place to start would be at the very beginning.
What are we being freed from? Sin. Where did sin start? The Garden of Eden. Before sin, there was nothing holding man captive. Freedom was open, unrestricted, constant fellowship with God. God took care of man and provided all his needs. God even gave man a job and a purpose: to tend and to keep the garden (Genesis 2:15). Everything man needed, God provided! There is no indication that Adam and Eve were in want for anything. The relationship between God and man was how God intended it. Man relied on God for everything, and God provided all that man needed.
But then that changed.
The serpent convinced Eve that she needed more than what God was giving her. She ate the fruit, and just like that sin entered the world. Ever since, man has been born captive to it.
Adam and Eve had the same response I often do when I sin: to hide. They felt ashamed of their sin and did not feel like they could be in God’s presence anymore. They were captive to their sin and, because of that, they could not enjoy the freedom of their relationship with God like they did before.
But this isn’t where God left them! One of the first things we have to understand is that God does not desire for any of us to stay captive to sin! It says in 2 Peter 3:9 that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (NKJV). When He sees us captive, He desires our freedom! For some, this may seem like an elementary principle about God, but how many times have you looked at your sin and thought, “Surely God doesn’t love me now! I just know I have messed up too much for Him after this! I can’t approach God with this sin on my record!” The enemy makes us doubt God’s love for us by making our sins seem bigger than what God can forgive. We often respond by accepting our captivity to sin and hiding from God, just like Adam and Eve did. Luckily for us, however, the lie that Satan tells us is just that: a lie.
Because of God’s love for us, He refuses to leave us in our broken, captive state. When God saw Adam and Eve hiding and knew they had sinned, He did something truly beautiful: He called to them!
God called to Adam and Eve! He didn’t give up on them, He didn’t turn His head and leave them there, and He didn’t stop loving them! Instead, He called to them! I can’t even begin to explain how important understanding this is to truly being able to live freely in our freedom!
When we sin, when we do anything that separates us from God and puts us in a place of captivity, God is there calling us back to freedom. No matter how bad our crime and no matter how long we have been in chains, God is there calling us into freedom! For those of us who have responded to that call, we have been set free from our sins. This does not mean that we will never sin or let God down again, but what it does mean is that when we do, we are still free.
Our freedom from sin was made possible by one thing only: Jesus’ death on the cross. When He died, He took our punishment. His death did not only cover sins that had already been committed, but all sins past and future. This means that once we have been set free in Christ, we are always free, because we are always and forever covered by His blood.
If you have never given your life to Jesus and repented of your sins, you are not yet free. You are still being held captive by the chains of your sin. God is calling out to you and offering you freedom! It is up to you, however, to answer His call.
For those of us who have answered the call, we have been set free! Our chains are gone and it is time for us to stop living in our prison cells like criminals! Instead of hiding from God every time we sin, we must remember that love has already ransomed us and let that love motivate us to pursue God even more! We need to live freely in our sin and stop letting our sin be bigger than God’s love!
Yes, there will be consequences for our sins, just like Adam and Eve had consequences for their sins (Genesis 3:14-19), but that does not mean we are no longer free. Verse 21 of Chapter 3 shows that God continued to look after Adam and Eve and to provide for them just as He had before. He did not leave them; He forgave them. He set them free from the bondage of their sin!
This is what living freely in our freedom looks like: understanding that God is still there calling us to Himself and showing us His perfect love, even when we fail Him. His love is not based on what we do or do not do. His love is perfect and unconditional! His love made a way for us to be free, and it is only by understanding His love that we can truly live freely in our freedom!