FREEDOM is a wonderful word. According to my 1955 edition of the Oxford Dictionary, Freedom is, “1. Exemption or release from slavery or imprisonment; personal liberty. 2. Exemption from arbitrary control; independence, civil liberty. 3. The state of being FREE.” Freedom means that one is not in bondage, not a slave to anyone or any thing. Our great nation was founded upon this very principle of freedom and liberty.
In just a few short days, our nation will celebrate our Independence and FREEDOM as a nation. We, as Americans, enjoy great liberty and freedom. Americans have fought many wars to maintain our Liberties and National Freedom. Today we are at war with a religious ideology that again threatens our Freedom and liberty as a nation. We are also in danger as a bloated government and arrogant politicians take away more and more of our liberties and freedoms. I hope that all of us pray for those who have volunteered to defend us. We should also pray for leaders who understand the dangers and are willing to act with courage and integrity to make the hard decisions to regain and defend our liberties and freedom.
A Freedom More Important
But there is another type of FREEDOM that is even more important and even more rare in this world. That is, the spiritual freedom of the soul. Many millions are free men, in the respect of not being imprisoned or enslaved, who are nevertheless spiritually in the most severe bondage. In this sense there is no freedom. Many have a mistaken notion about the supposed “freedom of the human will,” and talk of such foolishness as, “the free will of man.”
It is falsely taught that man is morally free to choose good or evil. This WAS true of Adam prior to his sin and rebellion against God. Since that time all of Adam’s descendants (This includes you and me) have been born with a depraved, sinful nature. This truth is believed and taught by all sound Bible scholars. Allow me to give but a few examples. The founder of the Lutherans, Martin Luther, wrote a whole book entitled “The Bondage of the Will.” All who follow the Westminster Catechism would agree with William Shedd when he states, “Again, the totality of the depravity of the will destroys moral ability, or ability to do good.” And also he says, “The depravity or corruption of the nature is total. ‘Man is wholly inclined to evil, and that continually.’”
Part of the New Hampshire Confession, used by thousands of Baptists for many years, says it this way, “…all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.” I have included these quotations not to prove my point, for I will directly do so from the Holy Scriptures, but to show that the views set forth in this article are not only the views of a lone “crackpot” Baptist. For many who will read this article, this is a new doctrine. I urge you to consider carefully the Scriptures we will set forth, and do as the Bereans did after hearing the apostle, “…they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11
The Bible Truth About the Nature of Man
David confessed very plainly his own depravity when he said, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Ps. 51:5 David also said, “The wicked (unregenerate) are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Ps. 58:3 The Word of God is equally clear in describing the heart of man as sinful and deceitful. The Prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer. 17:9 The Lord Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:” Matt. 15:19 The apostle by the Holy Spirit gives us the divine view of man, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Rom. 3:10-12 We could multiply Scripture, but these are sufficient to make our point.
Did you notice the words, “there is none that seeketh after God, … none righteous, … none good, no not one.”? Indeed the description of mankind by the Word of God is not very flattering. But it is the truth. Each one of us is born with a sinful nature that predisposes our will toward evil. We are not all as evil as we can be. Nor are we each as evil as all other men, the grace of God making the difference. For some are born and raised with more light and understanding of the things of God than others. Therefore the evil in some is more restrained than in others by God’s unseen hand of providence.
This doctrine also does not deny that man is a free moral agent. He can and does make decisions without any compulsion from without. But all of our choices are and must be in accordance with our nature. Thus, because our nature is evil and depraved, we cannot and will not seek God or good. We might make choices that are better than others, but these are not nor can they be choices of righteousness, apart from
the regenerating power of God. This is why Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; … Ye must be born again.” John 3:6-7
Because our nature is inherently evil and we are by nature rebels against God, we are under the condemnation of His just wrath against sin. Listen to these Scriptures that make this point abundantly clear. The apostle says that we are “…by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Eph. 2:3 And also, “…for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Eph 5:6 And the Lord Jesus Himself said, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already,” Joh 3:18 Did you read carefully these words? We are “by nature the children of wrath, … condemned already.” That is correct, for you and me to be condemned to eternity in Hell, nothing is required of us. That is where our sinful nature will take us. As Jesus said, we “…must be born again.”
FREEDOM Through Jesus Christ
Jesus describes the FREEDOM that we might have in and through Him, when He says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
Yes, dear Friend, Jesus Christ can make us FREE, Free from the wrath of God upon sinners, Free from the power of sin over us, Free to do righteousness. FREE! Freedom, true freedom is to be found only in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not had by being baptized, or simply going to Church or learning a catechism. As we have seen, we have no power or ability in ourselves. We must be given a new nature, a divine nature by God. We must be “born again.” This is wholly the work of God, by His Holy Spirit, through His Word. (See John 3:5-8; James 1:18; 1 Pt. 1:23) Jesus said in that same passage, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” Verse 34 Why do you do bad things? Because you are a servant of sin. Sin is your nature. Why do you think evil thoughts? Jesus said, it is because you are a servant of sin. Sin is in your heart. Just like a bird flies or a fish swims, because it is its nature to do so. Did any parent ever have to teach a child to be selfish or tell a lie? Do we have to teach children to do evil? NO, it is their nature to sin. As David said, “they go astray as soon as they be born…”
Jesus came into the world to take upon Himself our sins and suffer the just wrath of God in our place. By His sufferings, death, and resurrection, Jesus destroyed the power of sin and Satan, for all who trust upon Him. He now gives to each one who trusts upon Him, freedom, real freedom, freedom from the wrath and the power of sin. Paul wrote to those who believed on Jesus in Rome and said, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Rom. 6:17-18
Dear Friend, are you still a servant of sin? You can become the servant of righteousness, by trusting upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust on Him now. He alone can set you free. You do not have to be a slave to alcohol, drugs, or any other sin. Jesus can make you free. You do not need to live in fear. You can be free in Jesus. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” This is the only TRUE FREEDOM!