What is True Freedom?
A message from Billy Graham
June 24, 2009 - We all want freedom: political freedom, intellectual freedom, moral freedom. We want freedom from prejudice, freedom from ignorance, freedom from poverty. And we even search for religious freedom.
In the United States some people want to throw out all Christian emphasis, all religious symbols. They want to be free from such "bondage." They say, "Do away with the recognition of God in national life."
Our forefathers did not feel that way. They desired that we should have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" ( Psalm 33:12). If we push God aside, may God have mercy upon us.
Today we live in a pluralistic society, and secularism has been growing rapidly, with its tireless adherents who work for it day and night. They believe that if we can be freed from religions, we will be a happy people.
Yet the Scripture teaches that the only truly free people in the world are those who have made Christ their Savior and Lord and Master. Jesus Christ said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Freedom From the Penalty of Sin
First Jesus frees us from the penalty of sin. We know that we have sinned against God. We break His Laws; we fail Him; we fall short of His requirements; we are sinners. And this sin has alienated us from God. Our sin comes between us and God, so that He has to hide His face from us and will not hear us.
We may laugh at this and say that our sins are small and do not amount to anything. But God is pure and righteous and holy, and in His sight we have caused offense. We are separated from God. We can try to cover up our sins, but God says that we cannot get away with hiding our sins.
But here comes the glorious part: Christ took the penalty of our sin. That is what the cross is all about. He died on that cross for people like you and me, sinners who had failed Him and had broken His Laws. On that cross God took all of our sins and laid them on Christ, so that He became sin for us. He took the judgment of our sin; He took the hell of our sin. And the moral accountability that we ordinarily would expect to face at the Judgment, we will not have to face if we have Him as our Savior.
Why? Because on the cross the Lord Jesus Christ took the accountability for us. He took the sin and the judgment for us. That is the grace and mercy of God that we can't understand.
Oh, the depth of God's grace ... the height of God's mercy ... the breadth of God's love ... that He is willing to say to you and to me, "I forgive you." And you can go to bed and sleep a new kind of sleep. You may find the past haunting you, but you are free. The full penalty has been paid. The Judge will never say, "I pronounce sentence on you," because Christ accepted that sentence for you. In Christ you are free. Accept it by faith.
Freedom From the Power of Sin
Second, He frees us from the power of sin. Jesus said, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin"(John 8:34). Are you a servant of sin? Are you in bondage to jealousy, to pride, to selfishness, to immorality, to gambling, to narcotics, to sinful pleasure? Is sin your master?
You may say, "I don't want to commit this sin. I do not want to tell this lie. I don't want to get drunk. I don't want to be involved with that person." But if you yield to the temptation of sin, you are a slave to sin. The very thing you say you will not do again, you do.
But when we know the truth, the truth makes us free (John 8:32). How wonderful! As we daily, moment by moment, yield our lives to Him, He orders our lives. Satan no longer has power over us. Sin no longer is in command. Oh, to be sure, we may slip and fall, but Christ is there to pick us up and to love us.