They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” (John 8:33 ESV)
The question “are you free?” can be problematic because it can mean different things to different people. It begs the question “free from what?”. There are different types of freedom depending on what the enslaving agent or bondage is.
Jesus told the Jews they will know the truth and be free, and the Jews were not happy about it. They did not think of themselves as slaves or bound to anyone or anything. Jesus responded and said, “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34 ESV). The Jews were free but were not free. They were not slaves to anyone but slaves to sin.
Bondage or slavery is the condition in which we lose our liberty to be or act as we choose, and someone or something controls us. Jesus shows us human bondage comes in different shades and types. We can be legally free (not in prison etc.) But bound in our lives by sin, an addiction, or a habit.
We need freedom in our bodies (physical), minds, and spirit. Physical freedom is the easiest to get, while spiritual freedom, which is liberation from sin and Satanic bondage, is difficult. And then there is emotional, mental, or social freedom which is somewhere in between. Military power can secure physical freedom. However, spiritual freedom can only come by the cross of Christ. Similarly, we cannot use military force to get freedom from addiction, depression, moral decadence, etc. The Word of God is the only lasting cure for the ailments of the hearts of people.
Related post: Your sweet freedom in Christ.
What is the meaning of freedom? Is it possible to be free physically and bound spiritually? It is also possible to be free spiritually but bound physically?
Apply the Word
Let me return to the initial question: are you free? We should not assume we are free as the Jews did because we focus on just one aspect of freedom. The Lord wants us to be free indeed physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.
Ask the Father for the grace to receive the complete freedom He wants for us.