Summary: Many people want to be free from control by others and free from God’s commands—free to do whatever they want. Yet this kind of “freedom” is an illusion. It may look good from the outside, but it ultimately results in misery and unhappiness. True freedom is not freedom to sin. It is freedom from the power of sin and the freedom to love.

Summary: Bible study on freedom — not freedom to sin, but freedom from the power of sin.

Doug Britton Books

Practical • Biblical • Cross-Cultural

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Counterfeit Freedom

“Freedom” from God is not True Freedom

Doug Britton, MFT

Picture of man holding Bible reading about God's true freedom (not "counterfeit freedom")

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. (Psalm 119:32)

Introduction — Many say they want to be “free”

(This study is adapted from Defeating Temptation: Biblical Secrets to Self Control.)

Multitudes of people say they want to be “free,” to be in control. They want to do what they want and make their own decisions, free from God’s laws or society’s rules. This often means they want the freedom to sin.

Before I became a Christian, this was true of me. I wanted to throw off ALL boundaries, to be completely free of society’s rules. I remember one friend who admiringly told me I was the most free person she had ever known. She thought I must have great peace inside, but she was wrong. I knew that I was dying inside, spiritually and emotionally.

 

There is no such thing as absolute freedom

“Freedom” from God means being in bondage to sin and the devil.

Freedom from God’s rules is counterfeit freedom. It is an illusion. If you proclaim yourself “free” from God’’s restraints, you become a slave to sin and the devil.

They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (2 Peter 2:19)

The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires. (Proverbs 11:6)

Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. (Ephesians 4:19)

 

The world’s “freedom” is the freedom to be miserable.

An infant may be tempted to enjoy the “freedom” of drinking from a bottle of bleach or running into a crowded street, but this freedom would bring death. Likewise, “freedom” from God may look attractive, but the end result is unhappiness and, ultimately, an eternity in hell.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)

 

Our only choice is to be ruled by God and righteousness or the devil and sin.

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

 

True freedom comes from abandoning your life to God

True freedom is not freedom to sin. It is freedom from the power of sin.

God’s life within us transforms us. As we walk in the Spirit, we begin to see sin for what it really is, something vile and leading to death, and it becomes easier to do the things that please God.

Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. (Romans 6:19-20)

 

True freedom is the freedom to celebrate God’’s love and live a full, joyful life.

As we grow in the Lord, we experience the joy of becoming who we are meant to be, of realizing our best possibilities.

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. (Psalm 119:32)

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. (Psalm 119:45)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

 

True freedom is the freedom to love.

When we walk in the freedom that God offers, we are better able to truly love and serve others.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)

 

Personal application

Have you yearned for “freedom,” only to find yourself disappointed? If so, let me encourage you to surrender yourself to God and discover the true freedom that comes from Him. Say the following as a prayer:

Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God, and I need your help. I confess I have sinned and failed you in many ways. I invite you to be my Savior and Lord, and I ask you to help me follow you the rest of my life. Thank you for loving me, forgiving me, and accepting me as your child.

If you prayed with sincerity, Christ accepted you into his kingdom and you are now a Christian, reconciled with God. Welcome to the family of God!

God will transform your life as you grow in him. The following advice will help you get started in your Christian walk:

  • Tell someone that you decided to follow Jesus.
  • Read the Bible every day, starting in the New Testament with the book of John.
  • Join a Bible-believing church.
  • Pray regularly.

Getting Started, Getting Connected

Practical steps to take as you begin your journey with Christ

First Things First

Learning about God's nature, becoming a disciple

Living by Grace

Resting secure in God's grace, love, and mercy

Who Do You Think You Are?

Enjoying God's love and discovering your purpose in life

In the Bookstore

Getting Started, Getting Connected

6.99

Your first steps with Jesus

First Things First

12.99

Understanding God’s nature

Living by Grace

12.99

Understanding God’s grace

Who Do You Think You Are?

12.99

See yourself as God sees you
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Copyright © 2003, 2016 Doug Britton. (Permission granted to print for personal use.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible verses are from the 1984 New International Version.

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