“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
I remember on February 11th, 1990, watching what was to be one of the most famous moments in history. Nelson Mandela was supposed to have been released at 8:00 in the morning but it wasn’t until the afternoon that he began his long walk to freedom from the prison gates to the city hall in Cape Town. After 27 years in prison, his freedom would change the nation of South Africa and beyond.
When Jesus talked about freedom, he was not talking about a political freedom, freeing the Jews from the occupation of the Roman Empire, or even financial freedom. Instead, he was talking about freedom from being a slave to sin! Jesus made the amazing promise to us found in John 8:36, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”
For some this freedom comes in a moment, like a Saul on the road to Damascus, or like Zacchaeus as he responded to Jesus in his home; transformed from a slave to sin, to a child of God. But for many ‘freedom’ is a long walk and is more like the story of the Hebrew people leaving Egypt and entering into a 40-year journey in the wilderness, before they reached their final destination.
Egypt is often used as a picture of the world, a place where sin reigns and where people become slaves to sin... slaves to the practices, desires and habits of this world.
Moses is a picture of our Saviour Jesus, who entered this world and called people out to follow him. Jesus set us free, not only from the power of sin over our lives, but also from the power of the enemy. When we leave our life of sin and enter the freedom of following Christ and surrendering ourselves to him. But the bible is clear that our freedom came at a cost with the death of Jesus, but also our freedom is something we must choose to walk in! None of us are completely free from the influence and temptation of sin.
On the long walk to the promised land, often the people rebelled against God and even longed at times, to return to Egypt. That can be so like our journey with Jesus, we often want to do things our way and end up compromising our freedom and even, at times, returning to the sin that so easily entangles us. Breaking free from slavery to addiction, harmful lifestyles and people is not easy, so we need to apply this promise every day, that it is Jesus that sets us free.
Today, as we reflect on that amazing promise of freedom, let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and continue on this long walk with Him and practise staying free by avoiding the things, thoughts, people and places that lead us into sin.
From about the age of 15 I was drinking regularly. I’ve always felt that I didn’t belong or fit in and thought that drinking would be the answer. In my family home there was always drink available, I would drink until I was unable to get up. Everything I did revolved around drinking and nothing else mattered.
When I got a job, I would steal things and lie to my employer about how much work I had done. I would go to work still drunk and sleep in my van during working hours. At the end of 1999, I felt that I hit my lowest point when we lost a baby, I felt responsible because I was drinking so heavily. Soon after, I said to Sara “that’s it, I’m not drinking anymore,” I didn’t realise it at the time, but God had saved me.
We started to go to church and listening to the pastor speak, it felt like he had been following me around and taking notes on my life. We started to go regularly, I wanted to learn more about God. On March 11th, 2007, we both got baptised and started serving regularly in the church.
People have said there’s no way you can be free from drinking and using drugs. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4-13
In 2021, Sara and I will have been together for 30 years, married for 25 years, I will be 50 and been sober for 21 years. This is only part of my story, as my journey is not finished. I am an alcoholic, but I have been saved by Christ.
“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
What has God said to you through today’s promise?