For the Christian, every day is Independence Day when you read a verse like Psalm 119:45 — “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts”.
We treasure our freedom, do we not? In the USA, we sing proudly before every sporting event that we live in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
I’m thankful for the frequent reminders that freedom is not free; it comes at a great price. The freedom we enjoy in this country is the result of much blood, sweet and tears.
The psalmist speaks of his life as a life of freedom. Literally, the first half of Psalm 119:45 can be translated, “I shall walk in a wide place” (English Standard Version). Isn’t that a wonderful way to describe the meaning of liberty?
What I find most compelling about this verse is the relationship between the first half and the second half. Note the all-important connecting word — “for” – which means “because”. The psalmist says he lives in freedom, and then he tells us the reason for that freedom. He has freedom because he seeks out the Word of God.
Like our blood-bought freedom as U.S. citizens, the believer’s freedom is not free. It too comes at a price. The freedom of the believer is the result of seeking God’s truth and finding it in the written Word of God, the Bible.
Once we have sought out and found God’s Word, we must spend much time reading it, studying it, meditating on it, understanding it, memorizing it, and obeying it – all by the grace of God, empowered by the Spirit of God.
This is what it takes to experience the life of freedom – God’s freedom.
Now let’s turn our attention to the question, “Freedom from what?” The answer to this question is found in one of the Bible’s major themes – liberation from the slavery of sin.
Jesus described the human condition brilliantly and succinctly: “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). That is our plight. We are in bondage to sin, for who can exclude himself/herself from the “everyone” of Christ’s indictment?
Because of our sin, we are slaves to the ugly consequences of sin in both this life and the next. The Bible is oh so clear about this: as sinners, the death sentence of hell is hanging over our heads (the ultimate penalty of sin – see Romans 6:23). Before God rescues us from the kingdom of darkness, we stand at the precipice of eternity, with nothing below but the lake of fire.
And we live every day battling temptation on every side. Apart from the grace of God, we are doomed to succumb to the forces of evil that entice us (the pervading power of sin – see Ephesians 2:1-3).
Is there any hope for us to escape the penalty and power of sin?
Yes! This is one of the many reasons that the gospel about Jesus Christ is good news! Freedom from sin is found in Jesus. He came to liberate us from slavery to sin.
Listen to these words, spoken by Jesus himself when he visited his hometown of Nazareth and read Isaiah 61:1-2 in the synagogue —
“He (God) has sent me (Jesus) to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”.(Luke 4:18-19).
This was the definitive pronouncement of the Mission Statement of Jesus. He came to set us free from the prison of sin. He came to release us from both its penalty and power.
And he accomplished this mission when he died on the cross, for his death paid the penalty of sin and unleashed God’s power into the lives of every person who embraces him as Savior, Lord and Treasure.
This is the freedom that we enjoy as blood-bought believers in Jesus Christ. And this freedom is found by seeking and finding the Great Liberator as he is revealed in the pages of God’s holy Word. May we never stop praising our King for setting us free, for when we know the truth, both written and incarnate, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).