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Set free

Our life is worth living, not because we were born free but because God made us free through faith in Jesus.

Do you remember the movie Born Free? It is based on the true story of Elsa, a lioness, who was raised along with her sisters Big One and Lustica by game warden George Adamson and his wife, Joy. The lionesses were orphaned after George killed their mother.

The movie chronicles Elsa’s transition from the captivity in which she was raised to the wild to which she is returned. She learns to cross the gap between the radically different worlds of humans and animals.

Born as slaves to sin

In 1966, John Barry and Don Black wrote the song “Born Free.” The words are beautiful and appropriate when talking about a wild animal, but the opposite is true for us humans. We are not born free but are conceived and born as slaves to sin.

Many in society have bought into the song’s lyrics: “Born free, as free as the wind blows, as free as the grass grows, born free to follow your heart.” Humans have followed their hearts, but their hearts have led them away from God and true freedom. They believe that they are free to do whatever comes from the deepest recesses of their hearts. The reality is that their freedom is not godly freedom. “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness” (Romans 6:20).

Our consciences control what we think, say, and do. “They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them” (Romans 2:15). A dulled conscience is not a very good guide. Consciences, hearts, and minds need to be transformed to understand true freedom.

Made free through faith in Jesus

This transformation from unbeliever to believer, from death to life, comes from the work of the Holy Spirit through the gospel. By God’s grace, we can live free, because Jesus has set us free from sin, death, and the power of Satan by his perfect life under the law, his death on the cross, and his glorious resurrection from the dead. The apostle Peter encouraged believers: “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves” (1 Peter 2:16). The people of this world are so focused on personal and earthly freedoms that they miss out on the real freedom from the control of sin and death.

The song “Born Free” continues: “Stay free where no walls divide you.” For a big cat in the jungle, there are not many walls. For us humans, a great dividing wall of hostility existed between us and our Creator because of sin. We couldn’t tear it down or get around it. Our Savior Jesus could and did. “He himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14).

No human is born free. We are made free and set free. Now our life is worth living, not because we were born free but because God made us free through faith in Jesus, who bridged the gap between us and God. Jesus tells us, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). He has. We have a loving Father, a powerful Brother, and a comforting Counselor. Jesus made us free to live for him, with him, and to his glory.

Author: Snowden Sims
Volume 109, Number 09
Issue: September 2022

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  • Snowden Gene Sims

    Pastor Sims is a 1980 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran High School, a 1985 graduate of Northwestern College, and a 1989 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. He presently serves as an associate pastor at St. Paul's, Columbus, Ohio. He also serves as the Michigan District President. He is married to Melinda who is an instructor at The Ohio State University. They have a daughter, Erika, who resides in West Allis, Wisconsin. In his spare time Pastor Sims enjoys fishing, hunting, working out, gardening, playing guitar, and listening to jazz.

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