Is it possible to find freedom from sin? We will see today that it is not only possible, it is inevitable.
Welcome to our third study of biblical verses about freedom. In the previous studies, we understood the danger of picking out single verses about a topic and using them out of context and saw the necessity of connecting every verse to the central theme of the Bible - the gospel. We concluded rejoicing that God has set us free from bondage to sin and transformed us through Christ’s death on the cross.
Today, we are going to look at our next verse, John 3:36:
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 (NIV)
When considering Jesus' declaration, "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed," we must ask a clarifying question: free from what? The previous verses answers:
Jesus answered, "I assure you and most solemnly say to you, everyone who practices sin habitually is a slave of sin. 35 Now the slave does not remain in a household forever; the son [of the master] does remain forever" (John 8:34-35 Amplified Bible - AMP)
What a vivid picture Jesus paints! Jesus taught that practicing sin results in slavery. So, we should understand then that when we indulge the lusts of our flesh, we become enslaved to indulging the desires of our flesh. When someone begins to overeat, a little here and a little there, they can quickly become enslaved to food. The same is true regarding the abuse of drugs, sex, religion, or anything else that is damaging to our lives. A life of slavery is forged with one wrong step repeated. And slaves have no freedom, no ability to choose to be free; their entire lives belong to their master.
But the good news for us who believe is that Jesus Christ can set us free no matter what sin has taken root in our lives. And He doesn't just set us free; He makes us "free indeed!" so that we are not only free from the behavior but also the desire.
We don't want to be like the little girl whose dad told her to sit down in her chair, and as she reluctantly obeyed, she looked at her dad and said, "I'm standing up on the inside." No, when Jesus makes us free, we are free indeed! Free from the behavior and from the plaguing thoughts and desire to sin, free in heart, free indeed!
But how does Jesus do this, and what sort of freedom does He give us?
First, Jesus frees us from the penalty of sin. “For this reason Christ brings a new agreement from God to his people. Those who are called by God can now receive the blessings he has promised, blessings that will last forever. They can have those things because Christ died so that the people who lived under the first agreement could be set free from sin” (Hebrews 9:15).
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and Jesus took our place on the cross and died our death, thereby freeing us from guilt and the penalty of sin.
Second, Jesus frees us from the power of sin. “For the person who has died [with Christ] has been freed from [the power of] sin” (Romans 6:7 AMP). The most wonderful truth of the Bible is that when Jesus died on the cross, in God’s eyes, from His perspective, all believers died with Him!
Wouldn’t it be horrible to be forgiven of sin but left under its power? That’s not what God has done, because in putting us to death with Jesus, we are set free from the power of sin as well as the penalty of sin.
Third, Jesus frees us from the presence of sin. “There will no longer exist anything that is cursed [because sin and illness and death are gone]; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve and worship Him [with great awe and joy and loving devotion]” (Revelation 22:3 AMP).
While Jesus destroyed sin’s penalty and power, sin’s presence remains. We still have flesh, Satan still temps us, and the world continues to allure us. Yet this is all temporary. One day Jesus will return, and the results of His death and resurrection will be fully realized when He makes a new heaven and earth where no sin will ever be. “But in accordance with His promise we expectantly await new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
Fourth, Jesus frees us from the condemnation of the Law. “Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]” (John 3:18 AMP).
The Law of God points out our sin, shows us we are deserving of judgment and reveals that we should rightly be condemned. But instead, God placed all of our sins on His Son. Jesus was judged in our place and condemned to death on a cross. In dying, Jesus took the condemnation of the Law, so that “there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]” (Romans 8:1 AMP).
Fifth, Jesus frees us from the accusations of Satan. “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom (dominion, reign) of our God, and the authority of His Christ have come; for the accuser of our [believing] brothers and sisters has been thrown down [at last], he who accuses them and keeps bringing charges [of sinful behavior] against them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10 AMP).
In Revelation 12:10 (KJV), Satan is referenced as the “accuser of the brethren,” for spewing forth accusations against believers (Zechariah 3:1-4). But at the cross, Jesus took all those accusations and made them His own, as if He had done our sinning, and He died under the penalty of the sins with which Satan accuses us. Satan’s voice was stopped at the cross, his accusations silenced when Jesus took the fall for us.
Now we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11), meaning we take all Satan’s accusations against us to the cross. As we view Jesus dying in our place, our justification before God silences the accusations of Satan.
Sixth, Jesus frees us from God’s wrath. “For they themselves report about us, telling what kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to [look forward and confidently] wait for [the coming of] His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who [personally] rescues us from the coming wrath [and draws us to Himself, granting us all the privileges and rewards of a new life with Him]” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
The continuous burning lake of fire awaits all who reject the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who believe are rescued, delivered, saved from God’s wrath as they are sin-free in God’s eyes. Jesus took God’s wrath; believers get His love forever!
Seventh, Jesus frees us to worship God. “Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. 24 Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all peoples. 25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared [with awe-filled reverence] above all gods.”
Oh, how exquisite and delightful it is to worship God! As you come to the cross and look up, taking in all the sights and sounds, hearing Jesus preach a message of love and forgiveness in seven sentences, your mouth might fall open in awe and wonder. As you see the Lamb of God who took your sin and guilt away from you, as you ponder the depth to which He sank to raise you so high, your heart might feel as though it will burst! And when you see the blood Jesus shed, and you hear Him breathe His last breath, having shouted with a loud voice, “It is finished!” you might just fall to your knees and with tears running down your face exclaim, “Worthy and deserving are You...for You were slain, sacrificed, and with Your blood You purchased me for God. Yes, worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.
Oh yes, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!
Here is today’s biblical verse on freedom again, from several versions:
“So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free” (John 8:36 Amplified Bible - AMP)
“If then the son makes you free, you will be truly free” (John 8:36 BBE)
“Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free” (John 8:36 HCSB Free)