Freedom v.s. Bondage
John D. Telgren

It is amazing how the definition of freedom has changed over the years. In the 18th and 19th centuries, freedom was understood as freedom to serve God and do what is good and just. In those days, people saw hedonism in all its forms as bondage.

However, many today see freedom and bondage in exactly the opposite way. Doing whatever you want and indulging all your desires is no longer seen as bondage, but freedom. Rules are seen as bondage. Why the change? For many people, scripture no longer defines the idea of freedom and bondage for them.

Here is what scripture says about bondage.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness ... For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks ... Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them ... God gave them over to degrading passions ... And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper ... they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Rom 1:18-27).”

I just highlighted the phrases I want to focus on. Notice that this passage begins by saying the wrath of God “is” revealed, not “will be” revealed.

It is talking about God’s judgment that “is” being revealed now.

How is it revealed? The passage says several times that God “gave them over” to a depraved mind. In other words, God just let them do what they want. As a result, sin took over their lives. This kind of “freedom” was actually "bondage" for them. That’s why Jesus said,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin (Jno 8:34).”

Many don’t realize that God’s rules, commandments, and laws are not designed to put us in bondage, but to give us freedom. The first example of this comes from Exodus. The people were liberated from an oppressive master, Pharaoh, and joined to a benevolent master, Yahweh, in the wilderness. God gave them the “Torah,” the “law” or more literally, “instruction” for their good. Several times, God tells them people that his commandments are for their good. For instance,

"Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God (Deut 12:28).”

Living according to God’s will can make for a better marriage, family, job, etc. If we follow after his instructions and seek his will, it will in the long run go well with ourselves and our children. Freedom does not and can not come without rules and responsibilities.