“He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” (Jesus, Luke 4:18)
Today is the 4th of July. It is the day we celebrate our freedom, as a nation.
It may also be a favorable time to talk about the freedom that Christ brings to our lives.
It is so important to remember that Jesus did not just come to forgive us our sins. He had something greater in Mind. Our passage for the day, quoted above, is taken from an Old Testament prophecy. How exciting it must have been for Jesus to give those words to Isaiah, knowing that nearly 700 years later, He would stand in a Jewish synagogue, and read that same promise to His people. He stood on that day and declared: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)
At the heart of that promise is something we don’t talk about enough… Freedom.
Freedom from oppression from those who have abused us, and freedom from the abuse we heap upon ourselves. Freedom from prisons of fear, guilt, and doubt. Freedom from our addictions. Freedom from that which has been our taskmaster our whole lives – our self-centered nature, within us, that constantly tells us that everything is all about us… about what we want… what we feel… what we deserve.
Jesus came, not only to liberate us from our sin and guilt – He also came to liberate us from what kept us sinful and guilty, in the first place.
When we really think about it… what good does it do to pronounce a person free, if we never unlock the prison doors to set that prisoner free?
Or what good does it do to rescue a drowning person, only to place them back on the slippery bank that got them in their dire predicament in the first place?
Jesus certainly came to provide for our forgiveness. He also came to secure our freedom. BOTH of these things are what He came to do for us – and we serve Him best when we understand and apply them both in our lives.
In fact, if we really understood that Jesus came to set us free from the slavery to our sin nature, then we wouldn’t need to rely so much on His forgiveness. We would live in the revelation of our liberty! Our problem, as human beings, is that we fall prey to our own selfish desires, or our own self-serving pride, which sow the seeds that bear the fruit of our sinfulness.
Jesus came to set us free from our sins – and from our selves.
And that is another wonderful aspect of our new identity. We ARE free. We ARE liberated. We are not becoming free. We ARE no longer captives to our sinful selves. We ARE no longer imprisoned in our addictions, fears, doubts and failures.
We are free from everything that devastated us in our past.
We are free to walk into the fullness of God’s grace today.
And we are free to envision our divine destiny, and see it unfold in our tomorrows.
The freedom that we celebrate, in this day, is a reminder that liberty is not just to be celebrated by nations — it is to be celebrated by those who have found the fullness of their freedom in Jesus.
Prayer focus: God, thank you for liberating me from my sin AND my sinful nature!