Freedom is something that westerners take for granted. Consequently we don’t really know what it is. And consequently many Bible truths remain undiscovered, because we do not have a frame of reference for them.
The Son will set you free. The Truth will set you free. Stand strong in your freedom. A Christian slave is God’s “free” man. These Bible concepts are nothing more than mere poetry to most people.
As a young married man I had a friend from church named John Freeman. He and his wife were from some place in Scandinavia and his original name was hard for English men to pronounce. So he chose a new name when he came to Australia. He chose to be called a Free Man. So he took the name, John Freeman.
However, this man was not truly free. Several times he told me that he is not such a nice man as he presented to be. He seemed to be carrying some kind of shame and cloud from his past. He wanted to be a free man, and he had taken that as his name, but he was not free at all. His past mess was still in his heart.
The book and film, Born Free, celebrated the freedom given to lions born in the wild. But it is not only lions who are born to be free. All humans are meant to be born as free people who can pursue their life with liberty.
John Freeman had been born free but he had somehow compromised that freedom, possibly through sin and failure. He tried to enshrine freedom by his new name, but the real freedom he had been born with was damaged and lost, somehow.
In some cultures freedom belongs to the minority. Israel in the promised land had various captive people’s living among them. These other nations were supposed to be destroyed, but were not. So those nations were slaves and servants to the Israelites. The Israelis had freedom, but not the others.
The same was true in the Roman Empire. Certain cities and places were considered to be the preserve of the Romans. Those who were born there were born as free men. Others could become citizens, but only at great cost.
The Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus, which was one of those places afforded citizenship status in the Roman Empire. So Paul was born as a free man. On one occasion, when he had been hastily arrested, his captors feared because they had imprisoned a free man.
“Then the chief captain came, and said to him, Tell me, are you a Roman? He said, Yes. And the chief captain answered, I paid a great sum for this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. The examiners immediately left him: and the chief captain was also afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.” Acts 22:27-29
You were not born to be slaves, but born to be free men. However it is possible to lose the freedom that is rightly yours. This is done by making wrong choices.
The Prophet Jeremiah challenged the nation of Israel that they were not born to be slaves, but he pointed out that they were slaves, because they had rejected God’s leading.
“Is Israel a servant? Is he a home-born slave? Why is he spoiled?” Jeremiah 2:14
The answer is that Israel is not a servant or a home-born slave. So he should not be exploited by others who have power over him.
“Have you not procured this to yourself, in that you have forsaken the LORD your God, when he led you by the way?” Jeremiah 2:17
Israel had lost its freedom by forsaking God and rejecting His leading.
Preserve Your Birthright
You are born to be free. So don’t despise your birthright. Esau did that and could not get back what he lost, despite his bitter tears.
If you think nothing of your freedom it will become the ‘nothing’ that you think it is. So don’t be irresponsible with your freedom. Some people have paid an enormous price for theirs, and people have paid a terrible price to give you yours.
Tags: birthright, free indeed, freedom, personal freedom, roman empire
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