Therefore, if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. – John 8:36
I believe there are two parts to salvation. The first part is what everyone seems to want . . . eternal life. Now, every religion offers some form of afterlife. Islam offers an eternity of sensual pleasures. Hinduism offers reincarnation. Buddhism offers Nirvana . . . eventually. Even Atheists have their own form of afterlife . . . an eternity of nothing. Christianity offers Heaven, a place where you continue to enjoy the same presence of God you learned to enjoy on Earth.
The second part of salvation deals with life here on Earth. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life, and have life more abundantly.” (John 10:10) In Him, and through Him, our lives take on purpose and meaning. However, this is nothing that the other religions don’t offer as well. All religions offer purpose and meaning. So, what difference does it make? Do all roads lead to the same place?
Of course not! Just as all roads here on Earth do not lead to my house, all spiritual roads don’t lead to God the Father’s home in Heaven.
God offers freedom from sin through His Son, Jesus Christ. Sin is defined in the dictionary as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” 1 John 5:17 says, “All unrighteousness is sin.” James 4:17 basically says that if you know to do good, then don’t do it, you have committed sin. On top of all this, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) No person who habitually sins is headed to Heaven as defined by the Holy Bible. Therefore, it seems impossible that any should enter the kingdom of Heaven. Especially since we know that all people, in some form or another, sin.
“If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”
I have been learning a bit how Buddhist Monks live. They basically isolate themselves and stay away from worldly things, sexual relationships, and luxuries in an effort to be pure and clean. In fact, these Monks, who do not believe in our Bible, do a far better job at morality than probably 99% of Christians do.
But, are they free indeed?
Of course not! If you have to lock yourself away from the world in order to stay moral, you have simply traded one confinement for another.
Think about it.
A person should be able to own things without those things owning them. A person drowning in financial debt is not free. They have to spend. A person, who has learned to be content with or without nice things, is the one who is free indeed. If I don’t have the money to buy something, I don’t buy it. I haven’t always been that way.
A person who is constantly seeking sex with someone who is not his or her spouse is not free indeed. They are bound by their lusts. I remember when I was bound, I saw myself as free to do as I please, but I never saw myself as free to NOT do as I please. The only way I could have prevented my idiotic actions as a late teen and young adult would have been to lock myself away in a monastery and prevent life from happening. I was not free indeed.
That is, until I gave my heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ.
As the years go by, He is slowly but surely setting me free indeed. I can now use my computer with zero temptation to go to inappropriate websites . . . a feat impossible as little as 11 years ago. I can have hobbies without spending the majority of my time and money on them . . . a feat impossible as little as 5 years ago. I can go to work and have a good attitude about being there. I’m not saying I always do, but I am actually free to choose my attitude. Up until 2007, I only had a bad attitude about going to work and would do only the minimum requirements to keep my job.
I guess I could go on and on with these types of examples. I’m not saying that I’ve figured it all out, nor am I saying that I have arrived. Heck, I just knocked a glass of tea out of the refrigerator and it went everywhere. I wasn’t free to not grit my teeth, growl really loud, and fight saying bad words while I spent the next 10 minutes cleaning. But, I want that kind of freedom. I already believe that the next time it happens, I will be able to smile up at the Lord who continues to make all things new.
After all, it is He who has set me free.