‘Born to be free’ is a common phrase we come across in songs, books and movies- it means different things to different people, but from a Christian doctrinal standpoint, it would be more accurate to say that man was born to be a slave and he needs to be reborn to be free.

True freedom is the ability to choose to do what is right. Freedom can be interpreted in different ways- political, social, speech, economic and so on. However, underpinning all these freedoms is the ability to have personal freedom- to have the choice to do right. Tragically, when we look closely at our lives, we find that we are born with an inclination to do what is not right- what the Bible calls as ‘sin’. It is convenient to take the easy route, to align with the crowd, to turn a blind eye to injustice, to omit what we know is essential and in the current digital, impersonal world to just not care.

Look closely and we find that we are tuned to do what is evil, right from our births. No one teaches us to lie, to be angry, to be lazy, to steal, to be vain and to be a hypocrite, but every child who grows up adopts these characteristics in quick time. In Biblical terms, this is a sequel of the ‘sinful nature’ that is present within us. This sinful nature entered into human experience when the first man Adam sinned and being passed on from generation to generation, we are born with it and with it comes the reason why we are born to be a slave, a slave to sin and evil.

Think of the times man tries in absolute futility to change his behavior. Think of the addictions he tries hard to give up. Think of the struggles parents and mentors face in trying to change the behavior of their wards. The sinful nature is so entrenched in man that there is little hope for change unless man is reborn. This change happens at the cross where man accepts Christ as his Savior. In Paul’s words,

‘For we know that our old self (sinful nature) was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we should no longer be slaves to sin’ (Romans 6:6)

The union of a believer with Christ means that our sinful nature was dealt a deathblow, paving a path for man to be able to truly choose between following the inclinations of the sinful nature and the inclinations produced by God. This is true freedom; one that natural man is incapable of and brought on by the rebirth taking place by faith in Christ. Much like a new software that takes over a computer and helps it run in a different mode is the rebirth of man in Christ, leading to a new way of thinking and a new way of life. Man still needs to decide which path he will take- the old one that follows the evil natural sinful nature or the new one that submits to the good inclinations of God. And as he consistently chooses the latter, freedom takes effect and brings transformation.

The solution to the elusive freedom we seek is to be reborn in Christ. We had no choice to be born, but to be reborn is a decision we can choose to make.

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