31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Tuesday was Independence Day—the day we celebrated how free we are in the U.S. But are we really free? Just look around: Bitter partisanship and anger and bitterness—is that freedom? The constant struggle to have more money and stuff—is that freedom? The fear of death that leads people to spend whatever possible just to stay alive a little longer—is that freedom? Here’s something we need to understand: You can live in the U.S. and still not be free. You can be free and still not be free.
We think that the more we can do what we want, the freer we are. We say: “It’s a free country, so I can do whatever I want!” Do you know where that thought started? In the Garden of Eden. With a snake. “If you do what you want, if you eat this fruit, then you will be free, then you will have the knowledge of good and evil. The more you get to do what you want, the freer you are!” What’s the truth? Having the freedom to do what I want makes me even more a slave to sin. In the U.S., we are free to drink as much as we want. Free to commit adultery as much as we want. Free to hoard as much money as we want. Free to hate and despise and boast as much as we want. But remember, you can be free and still not be free. The more you get what you want, the more a slave you are. “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”(John 8:34)
Freedom doesn’t come from a country or a political party. It comes from the truth. “The truth will set you free.” The truth is that real freedom is trusting in the very nature of Jesus the Christ.
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ… 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others…remember, Christ Jesus…did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant. (Philippians 2:1-8)
The truth of freedom comes from self-control motivated by the love of God through Christ Jesus. Let the truth of freedom ring!