I have been hearing the song “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams on the radio lately. This song reminds me of the power of God, the plan that He has and the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. The chorus goes:
If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker.
If you feel lost, He’s a way maker.
If you need freedom or saving,
He’s a prison-shaking Savior.
If you’ve got chains,
He’s a chain breaker.
I have seen firsthand evidence of this in my work with Eden’s Glory, a safe house for women who are survivors of human trafficking. Under the leadership of Ginger Coakley and Annie Schomaker, I have seen Eden’s Glory work on freeing these women from the chains they wear around their necks. The women who come to us carry chains of abuse, depression, poverty, slavery, addiction and anger. In all of my interactions with these women and teaching them about God, I have never seen women want the freedom that Christ brings so much. These women crave freedom, and it is our job to love them unconditionally despite those chains they carry around their necks. It is an amazing thing watching these women shed a little of their chains every day. They slowly come to believe in the freedom that Christ offers and the freedom to make choices, to love and to be loved.
One of the most popular scriptures about freedom is John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” as well as John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
But what is this truth the Bible talks about? What are we being freed from? Galatians 5:1 mentions the “yoke of slavery,” and Romans 8:2 talks about the “law of sin and death.” I’m pretty sure we all have a good idea of the answer, but for these women, it is a brand new message. I would like to make a mention of the danger of taking our freedom too far. Sometimes our freedom can turn into slavery. Galatians 5:13 says “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh. Rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Serve one another in love. Do not abuse the freedom that we have in Christ by fulfilling our own selfish desires.
Galatians 5 discusses our freedom in Christ and warns us against being captured once again by the yoke of slavery or the sinful nature of our flesh. These women at Eden’s Glory know better than most what freedom of the flesh entails and what happens when people indulge those desires because they believe they have the freedom to indulge them, despite the pain this indulgence brings to others. The end of the passage warns, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (v.15). So we have the freedom to serve one another in love, or to serve ourselves and become slaves to our desires. Paul is talking about all desires of the flesh that are self-seeking and take us away from God.
Is it a desire for money? Is it a desire for material things? Is it a desire to hold a grudge? Whatever it is, it isn’t what Paul is talking about in Galatians, but we can still apply this letter to our lives. This letter, which Paul wrote, is mainly about dissuading the Galatians from accepting circumcision. Paul is trying to convince them that the practice is no longer needed because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. They no longer need to be under the Jewish law. They are freed from the law through Jesus.
Many Bibles have titles describing what some passages are about, and these titles were not part of the original text, but they are put there by interpreters. The particular passage I am talking about in Galatians 5 has the common title of “Freedom in Christ.” Does this mean we have the freedom to act how we want and not worry about the consequences? No, of course not; rather, we have the freedom from the yoke of sin and death — the one that says we disobey God and deserve to be punished. We are free from that law through Christ as long as we believe in Him, as long as we believe in Christ and what He did for us. Denny Wayman’s article about the five freedoms focuses on the “freedom of,” but I am talking about the “freedom to.” These freedoms involve a verb or an action, such as a freedom to serve or a freedom to love. Not only do we have the freedom of worship, but we have the freedom to worship. We have the freedom to pray to Jesus or the Holy Spirit directly without having to go through the sacrificing of animals or through a priest.
The idea of Jesus dying for you and for me is a completely fantastic, wonderful thing for these ladies who have been led to believe for most of their lives that they are worthless and have a price, a dollar amount. Yet, Jesus says the opposite thing in the freedom He grants them by telling them they are of great worth. For that reason, Jesus will gladly break any chain you find to be dragging you down. We have the freedom to be loved and love God in return. We have the freedom to choose in Christ. Because He broke His own chains and ours, He is a chain breaker.
“For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).
Leanna Westerhof is a student at Greenville College and a section editor for the Papyrus online newspaper. She has served as an intern for the Set Free Movement and Eden’s Glory.
- What chains are you carrying around in your daily life?
- Do you take for granted the freedom Christ has given you?
- How do we get rid of our chains?