Tim Keller | October 2, 2016
Does becoming a Christian mean the end of your freedom? Is a relationship with Jesus Christ a radical challenge to your freedom? The answer is yes and no. But ultimately, no.
Now I know somebody’s going to say that sounds like an ambiguous answer, but actually, it’s a complex answer.
In John 8, Jesus teaches about freedom. Jesus shows us 1) the complexity of freedom, 2) the enemy of freedom, and 3) the ultimate source of freedom and the true liberator.
Exploring Jesus’s dialogue with the Jews, He asserts that adherence to His teachings will lead to truth and liberation. However, when confronted with the concept of sin as a form of slavery, Jesus affirms that true freedom can only be achieved through Him. This complex discourse on freedom reveals the multifaceted nature of liberty, its adversaries, and the ultimate source of emancipation.
1. Complexity of freedom
Jesus’s teachings offer a nuanced understanding of freedom, contrasting with the common perception of freedom as the absence of constraints. True freedom is not about indulging every desire, but rather about wisely choosing liberating constraints, such as an older man sacrificing certain foods for his health. This perspective challenges the simplistic view of freedom and prompts reflection on how to identify and embrace these liberating constraints.
2. Enemy of freedom
Jesus challenges our societal concept of freedom, asserting that sin is the true adversary of liberty. Sin, a disobedience to our Creator, not only goes against our physical and moral design but also fosters self-centeredness, undermining love and leading to enslavement. The contemporary notion of freedom, which often promotes self-centeredness and limits love, is ultimately harmful.
3. The liberator
True freedom is achieved not through self-serving pursuits, but by embracing our inherent capacities and fulfilling our intended purpose. This includes nurturing relationships and love, which, contrary to restricting us, guide us towards genuine freedom. The root of relationship conflicts is often self-centeredness and sin, which prevent us from fully experiencing love.
True liberation from sin is found in Jesus, who offers a relationship grounded in enduring love rather than meritorious deeds. This relationship, unlike others, responds to disobedience with increased care and love instead of rejection. However, relying solely on good deeds can result in anxiety, anger, and a loss of autonomy.
True freedom is discovered in becoming a child of God, not merely a servant or slave. Jesus, through His declaration of “I AM,” affirms His divinity and offers freedom to believers. He relinquished His omnipotence and freedom to atone for our sins, providing forgiveness and a transformed relationship with God based on love and acceptance.
In a love relationship, surrendering our independence leads to greater freedom and love. By acknowledging and accepting God’s sacrifice, we can shift our relationship with Him from obligation to choice, finding liberty in our souls. Integrating God’s teachings into our lives and trusting in His love are crucial.
True freedom is derived from a loving relationship with God and others, transforming us from slaves into children. This freedom is attained through delayed gratification and the acceptance of liberating constraints. The pinnacle of freedom is the knowledge and experience of God’s love, and we pray for guidance in our journey towards this freedom.
February Book Offer
February Book Offer