There are only two kinds of freedom in this life: the freedom to do good and the freedom to do bad. In which freedom could you be in, the former or the latter? Could it be both? If both, which weighs more to you then, or gives more inclination for you to do?
It is such a predicament when you have the desire to do something good but you cannot, or seems hard to carry out. You probably want to help or make a difference to others but seems like you just cannot get to it. It is when you want to do good, but the opposite is what is happening. You are not exactly a criminal, but you are doing things that are not really good, and this appears to be your inclination.
The issue here is freedom. Total freedom is missing. There is a kind of tendency in our minds and bodies to be led to activities that rob us of real freedom. The desire to do good is there, but the action to accomplish what is desired is very little or none.
I will cite some examples:
- A husband and father having a extra-marital affair is now trying to avoid his lover but every time he does, he fails. He is sucked in to the sexual relationship, though deep inside he wish to make up for his mistake to his family.
- A gambler is always promising his children that he will take them out to a beach for a swim or a theme park to have some fun, but never gets to it because he is pulled away again and again back to the card table which consumes most of his free time.
- An alcoholic or drug addict may want to do something good to his/her family, but the actual opportunity to do it always escape because he/she is most of the time diverted to something else by alcohol or drugs.
- A rich man could not part with a portion of his money to donate to the poor because of his love for it, though he feels pity for them.
The apostle Paul, a keen analyzer of human behavior, was in such a predicament. He wrote:
“For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do“. (Ro. 7.19 KJV)
He was saying that he wanted to do good, but instead, the bad things that he was avoiding were the ones he was actually doing. Then, he discovered something:
“Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Ro. 7.20)
He was saying that it was the sin in his being that compels him to do so. He then deduced:
“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me”. (Ro. 7.21)
The sin that dwelt in his being, he called it a law. The context of law the good apostle was referring to here was not just about a rule of conduct or ordinances established by custom, but also of an operating law, similar to the laws of nature, or laws of established scientific or technological principles. He was referring to an established operating law.
He finally called it the law of sin:
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Ro. 7.23)
He used the word captivity. He was a captive – like one captured in war and held under control. This is the very same reason and situation why the people cited in aforementioned examples kept doing the bad things over and over again: captivity to the operating law of sin.
Now, did the apostle enjoyed what he was doing? The answer was no, he despised it! He knew that the wages of sin is death:
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Ro. 7.24)
Many of us, millions in this world, are or were in this very same situation in life. We are free to speak, move, go to work, play, etc., but are or were not free from the dominance of sin.
The issue I am tackling here is real freedom – the freedom to do good without hindrance and reservation because it is the only thing worthwhile to do, and to do it all the time. This is the only time when a man can really be considered free, when all his motivations and actions are all for the good. God is the Supreme Good, and whatever you think He will approve of, is called good
Here is the exhortation from the apostle on what is good:
“Whatsover things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Ph. 4.8)
This is the real freedom, and freedom from the law of sin (and death).
Freedom this kind can only be achieved through penitence by us and forgiveness of the Most High, and embracing the way of His Son, who came for this very reason – that is, to free us.
Wicked men freely doing evil deeds are not truly free, but enslaved by the law of sin. The freedom to do bad is not really a freedom, but a captivity to darkness
Now, in which freedom do you want to be? If the answer is both, then you are not really free.
TO BE GOOD IS TO BE FREE, and TO BE FREE IS TO BE GOOD.