Freedom Isn’t the Ability to Do Whatever We Want, It’s the Ability to Pursue What Is Good

“When a man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil, there is no reason to be human.”

Do you want freedom? Do you feel like the government has crossed a line? Do you feel restricted, perhaps even enslaved? Do you feel forced to do things that you wish you didn’t have to do?

Do you long to be free?

We typically think of freedom as the ability to do whatever we want to do.

Perhaps our concept of freedom is wrong.

In the past, freedom was defined as the ability to pursue what is good.

We don’t want people to be free to murder each other. We don’t want business owners to be free to lie about their products. We don’t want absolute, unbridled, unrestrained freedom. We want freedom that is directed towards good.

We want the freedom to earn a living for our family. That’s a good thing.

We want the freedom to serve all sorts of people at our shops without having to turn away the unvaccinated. That’s a good thing.

We want doctors to have the freedom to advise their patients on the best medical decision for them. That’s a good thing.

But there’s a problem.

Are any of us truly free?

We might feel like the government is enslaving us at the moment – and that is true in many regards. But the truth is that we are all by nature slaves of a worse master than the government.

Jesus put it this way: “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34).

Jesus is telling us that by nature none of us is truly free. We all sin and, therefore, we are all slaves to sin. None of us is able to pursue and do what is good.

We are restrained in our sin by the consequences or by the shame of what other people might think but if we were all left without restraint – in total, unbridled freedom – we would find that we sink into dreadful sin.

Richard Wurmbrand lived in communist-era Russia. He was a Christian pastor who was imprisoned for his faith. This is what he observed:

“When a man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil, there is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil that is in man. The Communist torturers often said, ‘There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.’ I heard one torturer say, ‘I thank God, in whom I don’t believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.’ He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisoners.”

You might think that you are not as bad as those Communist guards, but all of us know that we are not perfect. We are all liars, angry, lustful, greedy. And none of us puts God first in all that we think and do and speak. We are sinners and are not free to pursue what is good. Sin is your master and has been for your whole life.

But here is the good news. When Jesus said that we are all slaves to sin he also made an offer:

“If the Son (Jesus) sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Jesus can give you true freedom.

If Jesus frees you, you will be free of your sin. You will be free of your guilt. You will be free of the punishment you deserve for all your rebellion against God. You will be free to pursue what is good. You will even be free to be full of joy and thankfulness even at a time like this.

When someone is freed from their sin by Jesus Christ it produces remarkable freedom.

Richard Wurmbrand saw this freedom in other Christians when he was in prison:

“I have seen Christians in Communist prisons with fifty pounds of chains on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pokers, in whose throats spoonfuls of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starving, whipped, suffering from cold — and praying with fervour for the Communists. This is humanly inexplicable! It is the love of Christ, which was poured out in our hearts.”

The way you get this sort of freedom is by coming to Jesus Christ. Come to Him, throw yourself on Him, ask Him for mercy and trust Him to be your Lord and Saviour. Submit your life to Jesus, ask Him to set you free.

When He sets you free, then you truly will be free.

Even if the government becomes harsher and all freedoms seem to be lost, all those who trust in Christ will not despair. We know who is really in charge. We know that we are forgiven. We know that we have been freed from the curse of sin and from the sting of death.

This is the sort of freedom worth pursuing. This is lasting freedom.

Come to Christ today and ask Him to make you truly free.

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