Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is John 8:31-36.     

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 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’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.


Freedom and liberty are at the heart of what it means to be human. Why? Because God created us to be free in order that we might love, serve, and do what is right in Him for others. In Galatians 5:1, St. Paul reminds us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” The Christian life could be summarized as being set free by faith in Jesus to freely love and serve others as He loves and serves us. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it! Even the Founders of the country in which we live took freedom pretty seriously. They sought to protect and even unleash liberty; they sought to create a country where citizens who were motivated by their faith would discipline their lives and use their liberties in service to their countrymen. Now that’s an experiment worth trying for sure.

But there’s one thing that gets in the way of God’s freedom plan for us, and it’s worse than physical slavery. It’s the depravity of the human heart. It’s our sin and rebellion against the God who created and redeemed us. They not only corrupt and destroy our freedoms, but they also give us a false sense of freedom which places our souls in peril. In our reading, Jesus says it this way, “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” That’s the kind of bondage that corrupts and destroys eternally. That’s why Jesus engages the Jews in the text. While they fiercely asserted their earthly freedoms (John 8:33), they made the mistake of thinking that earthly freedoms were the essence of God’s grace in their lives. They were dangerously close to missing the whole point.

Today, we all need to learn that there is a greater bondage than earthly slavery, and there is a greater freedom than earthly political freedom. It is the freedom that comes by faith in Jesus who sets us free from sin and death so that we might enjoy lives of love and service to others in His name, both now and forever. In order to be truly free in a way that the world can never take away, one must be set free. Faith in Jesus’ work on your behalf does just that. Rejoice today in the freedoms and liberties that you have, but remember which one ultimately lasts. Then remind yourself that the freedom which comes by faith in Jesus compels you to love and serve others in the name of the Savior who set you free by own His life, death, and resurrection. That’s worth celebrating, sharing, and even defending each and every day.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for setting me free by reconciling me to the God who created me to live freely in Him. Give me a heart that cherishes all of the freedoms that You provide, putting those gifts to good use in service to others. AMEN

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