In this occasion of the Holy passion and Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is due the Glory forever, let us discuss one gift which our Lord granted us by His death and glorious resurrection. Freedom.
What is freedom? We ought to know seeing that we are the children of Christ who said, "if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed." Unfortunately, this present, passing world has flipped the notion of freedom upside down and fooled the entire earth. For this reason, many of us fail to think of Christianity as a religion of freedom. Well, with commandments like "do not steal" and "do not commit adultery" and "do not murder" and no drinking and no dating and no drugs and no partying and no prom, it's easy to think that our belief in Christ has set limits on our freedom to do as we please. This is utterly false and a result of the faulty thinking of the world in which we live. In order to understand why we Christians have total freedom vs. the enslaved people in the world, we must first contemplate on Free will.
When God created man in His own image and likeness, He granted Him one of the greatest features of His own Godhead, total freedom of will. This trait of the original creation of mankind granted us a completely autonomous will which has a capacity and an authority to act in whatever manner an individual wills. This gift was truly a unique aspect of man's creation and illustrated most greatly the incomprehensible love with which God loved us. None of God's other creations had this feature: the animals could not choose to separate themselves from God, the natural world could not commit sin, even the sun and moon continually follow their appointed circuits until this day without error or fault. So what happened to man's free will during the fall from paradise? Simply, It became bound by the slavery of sin.
Here is where the Christian notion of freedom is totally different from that of the world; freedom is NOT the ability to commit sin, it is the ability to NOT COMMIT SIN! Do you see now how Christian freedom is the true freedom? We see all of mankind enslaved to bad habits, those who cannot cease their consumption of drugs, those who cannot help but be anxious, those who ceaselessly judge their brethren, etc. As St. James tells us, all that is in this world, The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- all slavemasters whom bitterly enslave those who practice them. I need not elaborate on the various forms of addiction and bondage which we see in the world from these three things. In this, we see the freedom of Christ; the power to resist sin. We are not living in restricted freedom, we have total freedom.
This freedom is the ability to not commit sin in the time when we desire repentance. This freedom is the ability to rid ourselves of the anxiety which universally plagues the world's inhabitants. This freedom is the strength to not drink alcohol when the whole world has given itself to drinking. This freedom is the capability to flee from the multitude of carnal sins which run rampant amongst the worldly youth. This freedom is the authority given to us by Christ to trample on serpents, scorpions, and all the power of the enemy. This is the freedom which enabled Joseph to flee from potiphar's wife's Sinful desires at the risk of his own life. This is the freedom which allowed Noah to endure the lawless world as he built the Ark through which 8 souls were saved from the flood. This is the freedom which empowered the martyrs George and Mina to boldly resist bowing down to the pagan gods amidst a nation blinded by deaf and mute idols. This is the freedom by which the great saints Anthony and Paul denied earthly possessions and wealth in the face of a world where money and fame are the goals of all men's deeds.
This is our freedom today in the midst of a crooked and corrupt generation. The greatest grace which was granted to us was truly this: the freedom to say no to the sin which enslaves all the men in the world under its deceitful yokes of pleasure, fame, and wealth. Let us thank the Lord our God today for the great freedom which He granted us in our Lord Jesus Christ and let us take care not to use our own will in a manner opposed to God and subject our souls to the slavery of Sinful desires, addictions, and the deceitfulness of sin. Glory be to the God of our Freedom. Amen.
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”. (Romans 6:22)
“And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”. (Romans 6:18
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
"I have come that they may have life, and, that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10)