John was sad to see people jubilantly indulge in wayward behaviour. John dared to shed light on some of his friends’ erroneous concepts of freedom. However, John is equally sad by the fact that some Christians feel a similar sense of freedom with the burden of the law lifted and bondage removed. They believe they are free as Christ did everything for them. Now no one argues that Christ didn’t come to bring freedom. He gives us freedom to live by the empowerment he gives. We in turn love Jesus passionately by not following the sinful ways of the world.
John is mindful of what apostle Peter warned about false freedom: “They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception” (2 Peter 2:18). A follower of Christ is called away from superstition, error, bondage, deception, guilt, ignorance and a destructive life; from being a captive of Satan and facing separation from the life of God.
John is thankful that Christ has called us to liberty, provided forgiveness of sins through His sacrifice, given freedom from guilt, an enlightenment of the truth of God and, as a free gift, the hope of eternal life. The Scriptures point out that God’s Spirit guides us to truth (John 16:13) and also helps us understand the Scriptures (1 Cor. 2:10-14). This spiritual understanding leads to freedom. Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” John has cultivated discipline of daily prayer and meditation on God’s word to live in the freedom Christ gifts.
Ultimately, true freedom comes through the resurrection at Christ’s return. As Paul explains in Romans 8:21, “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” We wait for the day when we will be like Jesus in character.