Freedom is one of the most sought-after and cherished things in this world. It's what we fight for, it's what sets us free from our chains, and it's a right that everyone deserves. It is something we all think about as we approach patriotic holidays such as Independence Day, Veteran's Day, and Memorial Day.
But what does the Bible say about freedom? And why is our freedom in Christ so important?
Here are 23 verses of freedom scripture to meditate on what that freedom really means!
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What does the Bible say about freedom? What Does Freedom Mean in the Bible? What Did Jesus Set Us Free From?
Freedom in the Bible means to be set free from bondage.
But what does it mean for Christians?
I think about the meaning of freedom – Spiritual freedom – in before and after terms.
- Before salvation, we were all slaves to sin and condemned to spiritual death.
- After salvation, we have been set free from the bondage of sin and death and the law.
As we look at these Bible verses about freedom, you will see that salvation makes us free, not condemned to a life of guilt and shame!
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” Psalm 118:5 ESV
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 ESV
2 Corinthians 3:17
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV
As a child, I had only heard the idea of Spiritual freedom from one perspective. Since God already forgave all sin, Christians could continue to sin and not fear the consequences.
1 Peter 2:15-16
“For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God” 1 Peter 2:15-16 NIV
As we reflect on these verses of Scripture about freedom, you will see that the Bible is clear that Spiritual freedom doesn't mean you are free to live in sin. We will all struggle with sin, saved or lost, our whole lives.
The freedom God gives us is His love, unconditional love, and grace to forgive us when we sin and help us learn from the mistakes to grow more into His image – that is not a license to sin.
The life of Jesus is great to study to understand the freedom we are given through salvation. Jesus loved the lost He encountered and called them out of their life of sin – without condemnation.
“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!”” Romans 8:15 ESV
Abundant life. That doesn't sound like unrealistic expectations or unreasonable rules to me. How about you?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV
In the life of Jesus, we see a shift from rules to love through the way He chastises the Pharisees.
“Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:26-28 NIV
Jesus set us free from the need to appear good. We were never called to be good. We could never be good. No, Jesus called them hypocrites for trying to look good to others when He could clearly see the sin they still struggled with secretly.
Spiritual freedom is the ability to be where we are while God slowly changes us more into His image on the inside. One day the outside will reflect the inside, but Christianity is not a ‘fake it 'til you make it' kind of faith. Jesus told us to be real, not hypocrites.
The book of Romans is a wonderful book to read to learn more about Spiritual freedom. Paul understood the hypocrisy of the Pharisees well since he was one before God called him to salvation.
He gives a recovering legalist like me hope that I am not alone and God can redeem all those years wasted in legalistic, judgemental rulemaking.
“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.” Romans 6:22 ESV
God sets us free from slavery to sin and brings no condemnation. That condemnation I once struggled with was from the enemy. Are you still wrestling with those feelings? Give it to God and let Him replace it with HIS peace and love.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:14 ESV
Earlier we touched on some of the Scriptures on freedom and liberty in Romans, but I want to look deeper. The Bible has a lot to say about freedom and it is good for us to know it so we can walk in that freedom no matter what the enemy is whispering our way.
The Bible is filled with verses about freedom of choice. God gives us free will as a way to allow us to choose salvation willingly.
1 Corinthians 6:12
He also gives us the choice, after salvation, to choose to live for Him, walking with Him, abiding in Him, or not. This verse helps me remember to make the wiser choice to walk in that abundant life He promises.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV
Yes, God gives us freedom of choice, how are we using it?
If we are honest, even amidst all these scriptures about freedom through salvation, we would admit we still feel enslaved to sin. There are certain sins that tempt me, every single time. No matter how close I am walking with God, I just can't shake them.
There is hope in knowing we are not the only ones struggling with the effects of sin. Creation also struggles.
“That the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:21 ESV
I especially love this verse because it tells me how to break the chains.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 ESV
Walk by the Spirit. That's a topic we will have to discuss later on, but believe me, it is powerful! It relates to this verse about becoming slaves to righteousness rather than sin.
“And, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:18 ESV
Spiritual Freedom is also about walking in the truth.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” John 8:31-32 ESV
And praise God for the forgiveness poured out for us at the cross of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus sets us free!
“Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:38-39 ESV
While shaking the bondage of those chains seems to be a process that will take all our lives, God tells us we have liberty now. Part of Jesus' ministry, prophesied long before He lived, is liberty.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” Isaiah 61:1 ESV
It feels important again to remind us what that freedom or liberty means and doesn't mean.
1 Corinthians 10:23
““All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV
This freedom and liberty mean we have choices to make in life. God allows us to make choices! We have the freedom to do many things, but where those things are not helpful or do not build others up we should choose not to do or say them.
“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.” Galatians 5:13 ESV
This flies in the face of American freedom, but as Christians, we are to put others first. If something I do, causes someone weaker in the faith to stumble, I should reevaluate.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 ESV
In life there will be times you chose to refrain from words or actions, not because they are sinful, but because of love.
You have the freedom to show love and grace in the same way early believers did not fight about where the meat came from. It wasn't sinful to eat meat, but it confused weak believers to eat meat offered to fake idols they used to worship.
1 Corinthians 9:19
“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” 1 Corinthians 9:19 ESV
Remember to pray to know when you should use your liberty rather than standing stiffnecked in your freedom.
Every year, during the first week in July, people in the United States celebrate Independence Day. This is usually done with backyard barbeques and lots of family gatherings. We celebrate our freedom as a nation.
But we should always take time to reflect on this freedom from a biblical perspective. One of the main freedoms we enjoy here is the freedom to worship our God, Jesus Christ. And where there are people worshipping Him, He is there!!
2 Corinthians 3:17
Here are just a couple of powerful freedom scriptures to meditate on this Independence Day!
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 ESV
2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Throughout scripture, we see countless examples of freedom. The idea I, and many others, latched onto that God is all about rules and expectations is a lie. Yes, there are rules in the Bible, but No, that is not what God is all about.
God is love. If you look closely at every single rule in the Bible you will see it is surrounded by His love. Now I see them more as boundaries set by a God who loves me too much to want to see me get hurt!