Tonight we looked at John 8:31-36 TNIV and Galatians 5:1 TNIV, looking at freedom through surrender. The first step to knowing freedom is to acknowledge that there is a problem. The Jews said ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’ (John 8:33 TNIV), relying on their spiritual heritage to guarantee freedom rather than understanding that freedom can only come through Christ. Many people don’t even realise that they can be slaves to sin (see Eph 2:1-7 TNIV), but once we understand that we are not free (see Romans 7:14-20 TNIV for a description of the struggle we often face in our everyday lives), we need to move on to discern what is truth and what are lies.

Some lies are obvious (I couldn’t get to Australia and back in an afternoon, for example!) But the devil can seem very plausible in his lies (2 Cor 11:14,3) and can even use the Word of God (see the temptation in the wilderness). Nonetheless, Jesus exposed him as a liar (see John 8:44 TNIV) and if we are to enter into the freedom Christ has purchased for us, we must be able to recognise what is true compared to what is false. This can only happen as we allow God to transform our thinking (Rom 12:1-2 TNIV) and realise that His word must have pre-eminence in our lives.

If we are to ever know freedom in Christ, we have to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5 TNIV). If we don’t, if we allow our natural thoughts to control us, we become prisoners to them. Beth Moore says, “The walls of your mind will never stay bare. Never. Once we tear down lies, we must re-wallpaper with truth, or the enemy will happily supply a new roll of his own. Different pattern maybe – a more updated look – but the same deceptive manufacturer.” (Beth Moore, ‘Breaking Free’ P 241)

The choice we have is to walk in God’s ways or to follow the ways of the world, where fear and doubt take control and we are led into captivity. The path God has for us is utterly different. He leads us to ‘places where there’s beauty to behold.’ (Jeremy Camp) His plans for us are good; His ways lead to freedom: ‘I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.’ (Ps 119:45 TNIV)

We are freed from so many things by the power of Christ: from the prison of sin (see Psalm 146:7 TNIV) and the chains that sin brings with it to bind us. Psalm 116:6 TNIV says ‘You have freed me from my chains’. We are freed from the tyranny and rule of the devil, who is the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Eph 2:2 TNIV). We are freed from the power of him who holds the power of death – that is the devil – and from the slavery which is caused by a fear of death (Heb 2:14-15 TNIV). We are freed from God’s condemnation, judgment and wrath. (Eph 2:3 TNIV) We can also be freed from wrong thinking, habits that enslave, wrong patterns of behaviour and every destructive stronghold which would seek to imprison us.

We are freed to become transformed into the likeness of Christ (2 Cor 3:17-18 TNIV), but the way to this transformation is through surrender and death (see Matt 10:38-39 TNIV, Mark 8:34-35 TNIV, John 12:24-25 TNIV). That doesn’t seem to make sense to our natural way of thinking, but we have to be dead to sin and alive to Christ if we are to walk in the paths of freedom.