Whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). Human effort and sacrifice have secured a level of freedom worthy of celebrating, so Americans observe Independence Day with parades, fireworks, picnics, and other festivities.
Unfortunately, that freedom is neither fixed nor unchangeable, and one only needs to read the daily news headlines to learn of threats and attacks on the precious freedoms promised in our Declaration of Independence and fought for on battlefields.
The freedom that Jesus Christ purchased for us is unlike that of human effort and sacrifice. When He finished His work on the cross, the eternal life He secured through His death, burial, and resurrection secured a permanent, wholly fixed, unchangeable freedom for every person who calls on His name for eternal salvation and forgiveness of sin.
Christ’s freedom offers immediate benefits, like peace, the removal of guilt and shame, and unexplainable joy. No human being or drug can lift the burden of sin and guilt from us; only the shed blood of Jesus has accomplished that.
When I realized my great need for the Savior, asked Him to forgive my sins, and welcomed Him into my life one night in the meditation room of my college dormitory fifty-two years ago, I felt so wondrously light, as a great weight left me. It was as if I was floating a foot off the floor. Tight bands of emotional pain and heartbreak were cut, and I was free from their control and restraint. I didn’t know what to make of it, but a bubbling joy rose inside me, and I felt new inside. In reality, I was a new creature. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).
My outlook changed. Things felt settled and peaceful inside; I was aware of the Savior’s nearness and wanted to know all about Him. Despite the hurt and confusion of a shattered relationship, Jesus had, in one fell swoop, banished it from my troubled soul and freed me. I felt bright hope burst, like a brilliant sun dawning in my spirit. The Son of God was shining His brilliant light into my heart. He was cutting all the bands of sin, pain, and turmoil that had bound me and kept my soul in darkness.
Bob Mumford, a wonderful pastor I knew many years ago used an amusing illustration to describe what had happened. A truckload of chickens was being transported to a slaughterhouse. Each crate was full of live chickens with their legs tied together in tight bands. They were powerless to move in the crate, and all they could do was stand—no walking, no flapping, no pecking. They were hopelessly fettered.
Once inside the slaughter yard, the crates were unloaded, and the crate doors opened. The handler began removing the motionless chickens from the container and cutting the bands around their legs. Surprisingly, the chickens remained still, like statues, not even realizing they were free! They’d been bound for so long and forced to adapt to the tight restraints that they could not understand they were released and free. Granted, their end was not pleasant, but they could have enjoyed one last walk, flap, or peck; however, they chose to remain bound in their minds.
Sin is like that. We carry its guilt, shame, and pain around until it becomes a part of us, and we don’t even realize there is One who longs to cut the bands of sin and free us. He eagerly waits to lift our burdens and the things that trouble and weigh us down.
Not only does Jesus cut the bands of sin from us, but He also lifts demonic presences from around and within us. Imagine a demoniac's freedom when a demon named Legion (meaning 6,000) was cast out of him. Jesus cut the bands of demonic possession by casting Legion out of the crazed man and sent all 6,000 evil spirits into a herd of pigs. The account in Mark 5:1-17 (NLT) is fascinating…
So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from a cemetery to meet him. This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night, he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.
When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. With a shriek, he screamed, "Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don't torture me!" For Jesus had already said to the spirit, "Come out of the man, you evil spirit."
Then Jesus demanded, "What is your name?"
And he replied, "My name is Legion because there are many of us inside this man." Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.
There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. "Send us into those pigs," the spirits begged. "Let us enter them."
So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs.
Now THAT’S an Independence Day if ever there was one! Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28 (NLT), "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Why not let Jesus cut your bands today and free you of any burden—sin, sickness, mental torment, confusion—and celebrate your own Independence Day with the One who eagerly waits to free you?
© 2023, Chris Werre