Jesus, through His death in my place has set me free. That is an amazing truth. But I think it's even more amazing to dig a little deeper and think about what He has set me free FROM - the writer of this hymn reminds us of just that - and it is QUITE a list.
We are free from carnal affections. This means that we are not slaves to fleshly sin - we are free! Paul reminds us what we were like before we had this freedom.
Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. Ephesians 2:3
We all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging ourselves. Can you relate to this? The continual indulging of our flesh only leads to death -- but great news -- because we now belong to Christ we can kill that flesh, the very flesh that is full of passions and desires can be held in check because we are not slaves to sin.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
We have also been freed from our slavery to sin in regards to our relationships to other people - we are free from envy, hatred and strife. Again, before we had Christ, we were foolish, not only indulging our flesh but also hating one another!
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. Titus 3:3
That's a horrible way to spend a life isn't it? Aren't you thankful that God freed you from that slavery? Luckily, the next few verses from that passage in Titus provide us with the good news. And it starts with one of my favorite words from the Bible: BUT.
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7
We were spending our lives being disobedient, slaves to passion, and hateful BUT then the kindness of our God and Savior appeared. And He saved us, according to His mercy.
Even though we were spending our life being slaves to sin, He didn't hesitate to demonstrate His love for us.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Paul gives us some great alternatives to the way we used to live. Here's what we do now, since we belong to Him.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Romans 12:9-11
Let all that you do be done in love. I Corinthians 16:14
Love. Cling to what is good, give preference to one another, serve the Lord, and love. Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called!
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
The Lord has set us free from worldly ambitions. These are things the world desires and aspires to. These worldly ambitions lead to desires of the flesh - and the Word promises us that those who participate and practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Instead of worldly ambition, we have a different kind of ambition. As the result of being freed from our slavery, we have our ambition to be pleasing to the One who set us free.
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. II Corinthians 5:9
In our old selves, when we were worldly minded, we didn't have the Spirit, and we caused divisions.
These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. Jude 1:19
BUT. Since through God's grace we have received salvation, He instructs us to deny our inherent worldliness and to live godly in our present age.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. Titus 2:11-13
This truly is freedom from all that saddened my life. Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom, no more in chains of sin I repine! Hallelujah.
Words by Haldor Llineas
Once I was bound by sin’s galling fetters;
Chained like a slave, I struggled in vain.
But I received a glorious freedom,
When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.
Glorious freedom! Wonderful freedom!
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious Emancipator—
Now and forever He shall be mine.
Freedom from all the carnal affections;
Freedom from envy, hatred and strife;
Freedom from vain and worldly ambitions;
Freedom from all that saddened my life!
Freedom from pride and all sinful follies;
Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
Freedom from evil temper and anger;
Glorious freedom, rapture untold!
Freedom from fear with all of its torments;
Freedom from care with all of its pain;
Freedom in Christ, my blessed Redeemer—
He who has rent my fetters in twain.