To be free is to be at one’s own disposal. This is the underlying formal sense of independence of others persisted in the Greek world. It was partly fashioned by contrast with the bondage of the slave. The slave is the one who from the first, by nature, does not belong to himself but to someone else. In the Greek world this concept was formalized within the political institution. There were those who argued for the slavery of others while others argued against slavery and desired freedom for all. Plato believed that if slavery was abolished it would create all sorts of major consequences for the community-at-large. The political institution in the Greek world made the idea of slaves and freemen a part of Greek life.
The New Testament concept of “freedom” is equally interesting. It is evident in the New Testament that freedom is not absent because there is inadequate control of existence but because there is no control of it all, and therefore no self-dominion. It teaches that existence in and of itself is not threatened by some outside force but rather by itself. Therefore, to take oneself in hand is simply to grasp a deficient existence. Man trying to preserve himself is merely a way of losing one’s true self. In face of lost existence there is only one possibility of coming to oneself, and this is by surrender of one’s own will to the will and power of an external force. Man attains to self-control by letting himself be controlled.
Set in the stone of God’s Word we find that the man who surrenders himself to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior receives freedom from sin, from the Law, and from death. Freedom is freedom from an existence which in sin leads through the Law to death. See how the New Testament cites for us the truth of freedom:
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:17-23)
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36)
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:1-8)
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery…For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:1, 13)
Freedom! This is what man desires. This is what man fights for and yet there is no freedom in and of himself. Although man believes he is free he continually enslaves himself to the sin that resides in him. In addition, the Law enslaves man because it points out the sin of man in the breaking of the Law. Therefore, man is enslaved not only to sin but also to the Law. To what does this point us? To whom shall we go for freedom?
The above-mentioned verses are clear! Freedom comes to man when man surrenders himself to another. In surrendering to himself he only exhibits that he is enslaved to his own lusts, to his own flesh, to who he is by nature. To turn to and to surrender to Jesus Christ is to find freedom, it was for freedom that Christ set us free.