Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:16–18—NKJV)

Freedom is a much coveted state around this world. At America’s founding, liberty and freedom were the crowning jewels of this new nation. Liberty and freedom set this nation apart from among all nations and that distinction continues even to this day. From the preaching pulpit to the fire-lit hearths, and from the grammar schools to the halls of government, our nation has cherished these precious ideals that find their greatest definition in the Bible. Since freedom and liberty have been taken for granted for so long in our history, it is worth revisiting what our forefathers knew from the Word of God.

Freedom is both a state of body (at liberty rather than under physical restraint of confinement—such as slavery) and a state of mind (at liberty of autonomy and self-determination within the context of freedom from despotic and arbitrary power). Freedom is being at liberty to exercise the rights of citizenship, membership, and privilege derived therefrom.

You will notice that freedom is not the childhood notion of the absence of constraints, responsibilities, accountability, and wisdom. Some people run into the wilds, away from civilization, thinking that is the essence of freedom. Even there, if they do not play by the rules of survival, their “freedom” quickly evaporates. Freedom is not exemption from convention, rules, moral civility, or citizenship. That is like saying “I want to be free from oxygen,” only to find out that such freedom leads to death. Hold your breath long enough and a breath of air never felt so good!

Freedom is really the absence of uninvited control. This is illustrated in the Scriptures by passages such as Romans 6:17–18: “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Paul further explains this in Romans 8:2: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:20–21 reads, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” This liberty is described in Romans 8:28–39.

For the Christian, liberty is freedom from the uninvited control of sin. Galatians 5:1 states, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Further, in the same chapter, Paul declares in verse 13, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” The idea found in this text is that of manumission. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, in the Greek world, as a master was setting free his slave he would pay the price of the slave’s freedom to his pagan temple treasury in the presence of the former slave. Now that the slave was legally the property of the god, the slave could not be owned by a man. A legal document was drawn up containing the words “for freedom.” As Vine says, “No one could enslave him again, as he was the property of the god.” The former slave is now a freedman. All genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are God’s freedmen!

Our text found in 2 Corinthians is illustrating one of the great privileges of being one of God’s freedmen. We have the right of access, liberty, and freedom to come into the glorious presence of the Lord! This is an intimate, fearful, liberating, enlightening, and transforming privilege of being freed from slavery in sin.

Just as it is the entrusted stewardship of every person elected to office to safeguard, maintain, and enlarge upon every freedom that blesses the citizens of these United States, so it is the holy charge of every Christian parent to learn, communicate, and display freedoms found in Christ. Are you cognizant of the awe-inspiring meaning of your freedoms? Are you free indeed? Are you exercising and cherishing your God-given freedoms? Are you loving your freedom and liberty in the presence of your heavenly Father? Trust and obey.