Bible Topics: Freedom
Definition: Liberty from restrictions, impediments or confinements; the capacity to exercise choice or free will.
1. The Lord can and wants to set those who are captive in spirit free to know Him, and to release them from the burden of sin.
Jesus breaks the chains
- Psalm 68:6 God setteth the solitary in families: He bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
- Isaiah 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
- Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.
- John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
- John 10:10b I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
- Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
- 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
- Galatians 4:1-7 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
2. True freedom comes from reading, believing, obeying and preaching God's Word.
- Psalm 119:32,45,46 I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge [free] my heart. 45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts. 46 I will speak of Thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
- John 8:31,32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
- John 6:63 It is the Spirit that quickeneth [makes alive]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life.
- 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter [of the law], but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.
- James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. [See also 2:12 .]
3. False freedom is the Devil's trap to bring us into bondage.
- Genesis 3:1-6 [Although God had given Adam and Eve nearly unlimited freedom in the Garden, the Devil tempted Eve to go beyond God's limits by making Eve feel she was being overly restricted. The outcome was disastrous:] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in
the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. [They then realized they had sinned, and tried to hide from God. Because of their disobedience, they were driven from the true freedom of the Garden into the bondage of working by the sweat of their brow.]
- Exodus 32:1-10 [With Moses gone, the people of Israel made a golden idol and got "free" and threw a wild party. The Lord became very angry and nearly destroyed them all because of it:] And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. ... 4 He [Aaron] had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron
made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord. 6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. 7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them... 10 Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. [See also verses 11-35 .]
- Luke 15:11-32 [The prodigal son wanted his freedom in the flesh, freedom from responsibility, from having to consider the future consequences of his unbridled liberty, and it cost him dearly:] A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And
he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! [See also verses 18-32 for the rest of the story.]
- 2 Peter 2:19 [Worldly people use the allurement of so-called "liberty" to draw people into the trap of service to themselves and the world system.] While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
- Luke 4:5-8 [The Devil tempted Jesus with the allure of temporal, worldly freedom, and got soundly rebuked for it:] And the Devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the Devil said unto Him, All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind Me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.
- Romans 6:20-22 [The Devil's freedom brings bondage to sin and death.] For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
- Hebrews 11:24-26 [Moses resisted the temptation of worldly freedom, knowing that an infinitely greater freedom awaited him in Heaven:] By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
4. Under Jesus' Law of love we are freed from the bondage of the Old Testament Mosaic Law.
- John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
- Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
- Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
- Romans 7:4a Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ.
- Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
- Romans 8:1,2 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
- Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
- Galatians 2:4 [Those who were bound by the law were always seeking to bring the disciples under bondage to the old rules, from which Christ had freed them.] And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
5. For Christians there is now only one basic law -- the Law of Love.
- Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. [See also Deuteronomy 6:5 .]
- Romans 13:8b He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
- Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
- James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.
6. Whatever is done in love is lawful in God's sight.
- Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
- Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit [which is love], ye are not under the law.
- Galatians 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
- Titus 1:15a Unto the pure all things are pure.
7. Although all things are lawful unto us in Christ, we must have faith for our actions.
- Romans 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth [believes or thinks] any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
- Romans 14:22,23 Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
- Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
- 1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
8. Examples of those who were free in the Spirit and free from the letter of the law.
- 2 Samuel 6:14-22 [King David wildly danced in joyful praise in the freedom of the Spirit.] And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16 And as the Ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. 20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants,
as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! 21 And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. 22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.
- Matthew 12:1-8 [Jesus explains that we have freedom to do the expedient thing, and not be bound by the old law.] At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto Him, Behold, Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. 3 But He said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests
in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 But I say unto you, That in this place is One greater than the temple. 7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.
- Matthew 12:10-14 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they [the scribes and Pharisees] asked Him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? That they might accuse Him. 11 And He said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days. 13 Then saith He to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him.
- Matthew 15:1-9 [Bondage to the letter of the law results in self-righteousness and hypocrisy, which God despises:] Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? ... 6 Ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. 9 But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
9. Although all things may be lawful unto us, all things are not expedient [helpful, beneficial, profitable, wholesome].
- Romans 6:15 [Just because we have liberty, it is not license to do wrong.] What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
- 1 Corinthians 6:12 [Freedom can be good, but we must not be controlled by the pursuit of it.] All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
- 1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify [instruct, strengthen, uplift] not.
- 1 Peter 4:2-5,7 [Because of fleshly "freedoms" let's not get off-track from doing the job Jesus gave us to do.] Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to Him that is ready
to judge the quick and the dead. ... 7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
10. If we use freedom responsibly, the Lord gives us more; foolishly, and it will be taken away.
- Matthew 24:45-47 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
- Luke 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
- 1 Timothy 1:9a Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners. [See also Galatians 3:19a .]
11. Use the freedom of the Law of Love wisely: Learn to walk in unselfish love, not lust.
- Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
- Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
- Galatians 5:16,17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
- 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
12. Liberty is wrong if it carelessly stumbles weaker brethren.
[See Keeping a Good Conscience ]
13. We live in freedom, yet God requires us to obey the laws of the land, which is a part of our witness.
- Matthew 17:24-27 [Jesus, being the Son of God, was free from having to pay religious taxes to the Temple, yet He chose to submit to the local laws, so as not to be an offense.] And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 25 He saith, Yes. And when He was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers [others]? 26 Peter saith unto Him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. 27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the
sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for Me and thee.
- Acts 5:27b-29 [The apostles obeyed the laws of the land, unless the law prohibited them from witnessing.] The high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we [the Jewish religious rulers] straitly command you that ye should not teach in this Name [Jesus]? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood upon us. 29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. [See also 4:18,19 .]
- Romans 13:1,3,7,8 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers [government, law enforcement]. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. ... 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. ... 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
- 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 [Paul often submitted himself to the local laws and customs when witnessing, just so he could relate to the people and win them to Jesus.] For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
- 2 Corinthians 6:3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed.
- Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
- Titus 2:7,8 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
- 1 Peter 2:12,13a,16 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13a Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake. 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
14. The Lord has set us free, yet we choose to become love slaves for Jesus.
- Deuteronomy 15:16-17 [A love slave was one who was set free by his master, but who voluntarily chose to continue to serve his master:] And it shall be, if he [the former slave] say unto thee [the master], I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee; 17 Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.
- Psalm 116:16 O Lord, truly I am Thy servant, ... Thou hast loosed my bonds.
- Romans 6:16-18 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
- Romans 12:1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
- 1 Corinthians 7:22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
- 2 Corinthians 5:15 And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.
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