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On July 4, let us remember where our true freedom is found

An American flag is seen along Wyoming Highway 59 near a residential housing development south of Gillette, Wyoming, U.S. May 31, 2016.
An American flag is seen along Wyoming Highway 59 near a residential housing development south of Gillette, Wyoming, U.S. May 31, 2016. | REUTERS/Kristina Barker

The United States has a long history of fighting for freedom. The dumping of tea into Boston Harbor in 1773 symbolized the American struggle for liberty. This event ignited a revolutionary spirit, culminating in the fight for independence from British tyranny.

Famously, the Declaration of Independence from 1776 stated that all people have unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from their Creator. This foundational belief in God-given freedom has shaped the nation’s identity and inspired countless movements for justice and equality.

However, while the American Revolution secured political freedom, the Christian understanding of true freedom goes deeper, addressing the spiritual bondage that affects every human heart. In a world that often defines freedom as the ability to do whatever one wants to do, the Christian understanding of true freedom stands in stark contrast.

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Rooted in the Scriptures, the theology of freedom offers a profound and liberating perspective that goes beyond the superficial and often deceptive allure of worldly freedom. This article explores the essence of true freedom in Christ, grounded in biblical principles, and its implications for our lives.

The Illusion of worldly freedom

Individualism and self-determination significantly influence modern conceptions of freedom. Society promotes the idea that freedom means being free from any constraints or obligations and pursuing one’s desires and ambitions without hindrance. However, this notion often leads to bondage — bondage to sin, selfishness, and the endless pursuit of personal satisfaction.

The Bible warns against the world’s take on freedom. In Galatians 5:13, Paul writes, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

As we can see in today’s society, the decision to misuse our freedom to indulge in sinful desires will ultimately enslave us rather than liberate us.

True freedom in Christ

According to the Bible, true freedom is found in Christ alone. It is not about the absence of constraints but the presence of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). This freedom is a gift from God, made possible through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Submitting our lives to Christ will provide us with four distinct freedoms.

Freedom from sin

First and foremost, true freedom in Christ means freedom from the power and penalty of sin. Jesus declared in John 8:34–36, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Christ has broken the chains of sin that once bound us through His atoning work on the cross, offering us forgiveness and a new life.

Romans 6:22 further elaborates, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” This verse underscores the transformative power of Christ’s freedom, leading us into a life of holiness and eternal joy.

The Puritan writer Samuel Bolton profoundly expressed this freedom when he said, “The law sends us to Christ to be justified, and Christ sends us to the law to be regulated.” This highlights how true freedom in Christ is found not in abandoning God’s law but in living according to it through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Freedom to serve

Biblical freedom is not self-centered but other-centered. Galatians 5:13 exhorts us to use our freedom to serve one another in love, a radical departure from the world’s understanding of freedom. In Christ, we can lay down our lives for others, following His example of selfless love and service.

Philippians 2:3–4 urges, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” True freedom empowers us to prioritize the well-being of others above our own.

Freedom to obey

True freedom in Christ also involves the freedom to obey God. The Psalmist declares, “I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts” (Psalm 119:45).

Obedience to God’s Word is not burdensome but liberating. It leads us into a life of purpose, fulfillment, and alignment with God’s perfect will.

James 1:25 confirms this: “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” Obedience to God’s law of liberty results in blessings and true freedom.

Puritan theologian Thomas Watson articulated this beautifully: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor. 3:17). Christ’s people are willing people; though they cannot serve Him perfectly, they serve Him willingly. They count it their pleasure to be in His service.” This underscores the joy and willingness that come with the freedom to obey Christ.

Freedom from fear

In Christ, we are also set free from the bondage of fear. Romans 8:15 assures us, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'”

As children of God, we can live confidently and boldly, knowing that our Heavenly Father is with us and for us.

2 Timothy 1:7 reinforces this truth: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Our freedom in Christ dispels fear and empowers us with His strength and love.

Puritan theologian John Owen captured this aspect of freedom well: “The greatest unkindness you can do to the Spirit of God is to doubt His love, or question His ability and willingness to save.” Our freedom in Christ rests on the assurance of His love and the power of His salvation.

Transformational implications

Understanding true freedom in Christ has profound implications for our daily lives. It transforms our relationships, our priorities, and our purpose.

When we grasp the depth of Christ’s love and the freedom He offers, it transforms our relationships. We are empowered to forgive, to love unconditionally, and to seek reconciliation. This freedom fosters healthy, Christ-centered communities where each member is valued and cherished.

Ephesians 4:32 encourages us, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The freedom we receive from Christ enables us to extend grace and forgiveness to others.

True freedom reorients our priorities. No longer enslaved to the pursuit of personal gain or worldly success, we are free to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Our time, talents, and resources are directed towards eternal purposes, bringing glory to God.

Colossians 3:1-2 reminds us, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Our freedom in Christ shifts our focus to heavenly pursuits.

Finally, true freedom gives us a sense of purpose. We no longer aimlessly wander through life but are called to be ambassadors of Christ, sharing the message of freedom with a world that desperately needs to hear it. Our lives become a testament to the transformative power of the Gospel.

2 Corinthians 5:20 declares, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Our freedom in Christ compels us to spread the message of reconciliation and hope.


The theology of freedom in Christ offers a rich and liberating understanding of what it means to be truly free. It calls us out of the bondage of sin and self-centeredness into a life of righteousness, service, obedience, and fearlessness. As we embrace this true freedom, we experience the fullness of life that Jesus promised, and we become instruments of His peace and love in a world longing for genuine liberation. Let us, therefore, stand firm in the freedom that Christ has won for us and live out our calling with joy and purpose.

As we celebrate July 4 and the political freedom we enjoy in the United States, it is important to recognize that this freedom came at a great price. Brave men and women sacrificed their lives so that we might live in a land of liberty.

In our book Just Thinking About the State, Darrell Harrison and I emphasize the importance of understanding political freedom within a biblical framework, writing, “True liberty is not the freedom to do what we want but the freedom to do what we ought, which is to glorify God and serve others following His will.”

In other words, political freedom, while valuable, must be stewarded in a way that honors God and promotes the common good.

Yet, the greatest price ever paid was Christ’s substitutionary death for our eternal freedom. As Darrell and I further elaborate, “The ultimate expression of freedom is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which frees us from the bondage of sin and grants us the liberty to live righteously before God.”

Galatians 5:1 urges us, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

May we live in Christ’s freedom, reflecting His love and truth in all we do. This freedom is a privilege and a profound responsibility to live as His ambassador, sharing the message of true freedom with a world in desperate need of hope and salvation.

Originally published at the Standing for Freedom Center. 

Virgil L. Walker is the Executive Director of Operations for G3 Ministries, an author, and a conference speaker. He is the co-host of the Just Thinking Podcast. Virgil is passionate about teaching, disciple-making, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Virgil and his wife Tomeka have been married for 26 years and have three children. Listen to his podcast here. 

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