Sermon quotes on freedom

Augustine of Hippo

It is through love that one application, we seek, we know. Love and then do what you want.

Alan Bloom

Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even especially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes awareness of other possibilities.

Phillips Brooks 

God’s terrible insistence on human freedom is so absolute that he granted us the power to live as though He did not exist, to spit in His face, to crucify Him. 

Larry Burkett

Most Christians are more than content to live out their lives surrounded by the trappings of our world, rather than to risk losing them in becoming a radical Christian. A radical Christian (by my definition) is one who will put God first in all decisions, even when putting God first is costly. In the business world, this means putting God first even when doing so costs money. That is true freedom – spiritual freedom – as opposed to business bondage.

G.K. Chesterton

Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel.

Fyodor Dostoevsky 

Man, so long as he remains free, has no more constant and agonizing anxiety than find as quickly as possible someone to worship.

Michael Gerson

Freedom requires virtues it does not produce and may even help undermine.

Joe Klaas 

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

Twelve Steps to Happiness

David Foster Wallace 

“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”

Infinite Jest

Viktor E. Frankl 

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Man’s Search for Meaning

Helen Keller 

The million little things that drop into your hands – the small opportunities each day brings He leaves us free to use or abuse and goes unchanging along His silent way.

Søren Kierkegaard

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

1963 Speech at the Lincoln Memorial, 28 Aug, during the March on Washington.

Martin Luther King Jr. 

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

C.S. Lewis 

The lost enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded.

C.S. Lewis 

The very idea of freedom presupposes some objective moral law which overarches rulers and ruled alike. Unless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish.

Martin Luther 

Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want.

Nelson Mandela 

When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.

George Macdonald 

Free will is not the liberty to do whatever one likes, but the power of doing whatever one sees ought to be done, even in the very face of otherwise overwhelming impulse. There lies freedom, indeed.

Thomas Merton

The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a man’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which he presents to the world, and to bring out his inner spiritual freedom, his inmost truth, which is what we call the likeness of Christ in his soul.

Spiritual Direction and Meditation, Liturgical Press.

John Owen 

If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation. Let this be one aspect of our daily intercession: “God, preserve my soul, and keep my heart and all its ways so that I will not be entangled.” When this is true in our lives, a passing temptation will not overcome us. We will remain free while others lie in bondage.

Peter Marshall 

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.

Gerald May

The freedom question, then, is not whether we can do whatever we want but whether we can do what we most deeply want.

The Awakened Heart

Blaise Pascal 

It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants.

John Paul II

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.

Ayn Rand (For Contrast)

Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.

The Fountainhead

A. Philip Randolph

Freedom is never given; it is won.

Keynote speech given at the Second National Negro Congress, 1937.

Clay Scroggins

Autonomy is a myth. It’s a myth passed from one generation of wannabe leaders to the next. Eventually, every leader is forced to come to terms with the reality that everybody is accountable to somebody.

How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

Scotty Smith

Because of the finished work of Christ, our future contains zero judgment and 100% joyful intimacy with you; zero wrath and 100% Christlikeness; zero brokenness and 100% beautiful, life-giving, heart-thrilling everything. It’s not merely going to be “okay,” but magnificent beyond our wildest dreams and hopes.

Thomas Watson 

To serve God, to love God, to enjoy God, is the sweetest freedom in the world.

Philip Yancey 

God’s terrible insistence on human freedom is so absolute that he granted us the power to live as though He did not exist, to spit in His face, to crucify Him.

Brennan Manning

For most of us it takes a long time for the Spirit of freedom to cleanse us of the subtle urges to be admired for our studied goodness. It requires a strong sense of our redeemed selves to pass up the opportunity to appear graceful and good to other persons.

The Ragamuffin Gospel

Theophan the Recluse

The goal of human freedom is not in freedom itself, nor it is in man, but in God. By giving man freedom, God has yielded to man a piece of His Divine authority, but with the intention that man himself would voluntarily bring it as a sacrifice to God, a most perfect offering.

Louis D. Brandeis

The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

Erin M. Straza

Freedom is found when undesirable habits are identified and the cue-routine-reward structure is defined, pulled apart, and reframed. In the context of our discussion, the cue is a desire for comfort, the routine is the pattern by which comfort is obtained, and the reward is some form of self-soothing, whether that be control, emotional security, power, status, or the like.

 Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom From Habits That Bind You, InterVarsity Press.

Phillips Brooks

No man in this world attains to freedom from any slavery except by entrance into some higher servitude. There is no such thing as an entirely free man conceivable.


Martin Luther King, Jr. (Attributed)

We have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.

Rosa Parks

I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free.

Thomas Paine

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

Benjamin Rush

Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us.

Mark Twain

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.

Daniel Webster

Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.

Harvey Dorfman

Self-Discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from expectations and the demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear—and doubt.

The Mental ABC’s of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement, Lyons Press, 2017.

Minucius Felix

What a beautiful sight it is for God when a Christian mocks…the clatter of the tools of death and the horror of the executioner; when he defends and upholds his liberty in the face of kings and princes, obeying God alone to whom he belongs. Among us, boys and women laugh to scorn torture and the gallows cross, the wild beasts and all the other horrors of execution.

John Milton

License they mean when they cry liberty.

Alexander Hamilton

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or dusty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the Divinity itself.

Thomas Keating

Every movement toward the humiliation of the false self, if we accept it, is a step toward interior freedom and inner resurrection.

James Baldwin

Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.

Watchman Nee

To secure one’s freedom the Christian must experience God’s light which is God’s truth.

Rebekah Lyons

Freedom comes when we know God is enough, when he is our everything.

You Are Free, Zondervan, 2017, p. 22.

Anne Lamott

Tell the truth and write about freedom and fight for it, however you can, and you will be richly rewarded.

 Os Guinness

The glory of freedom should never blind anyone to its immoderate nature and therefore to the stern requirements that surround it. For at the heart of freedom lies a grand paradox: the greatest enemy of freedom is freedom.

Taken from A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future by Os Guinness Copyright (c) 2013 by Os Guinness. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Os Guinness

Freedom always faces a fundamental historical challenge. Although glorious, free societies are few, far between and fleeting. In the past, the high view of human dignity and independence that free societies require was attained by only two societies with world influence: the Greeks with their view of the logos, or reason within each person, and the Jews with their notion of the call of God to each person.

Taken from A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future by Os Guinness Copyright (c) 2013 by Os Guinness. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Os Guinness

Freedom always faces a fundamental moral challenge. Freedom requires order and therefore restraint, yet the only restraint that does not contradict freedom is self-restraint, which is the very thing that freedom undermines when it flourishes. Thus the heart of the problem of freedom is the problem of the heart, because free societies are characterized by restlessness at their core.

Taken from A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future by Os Guinness Copyright (c) 2013 by Os Guinness. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Os Guinness

In short, contrary to the founders-and in ways they do not realize themselves-Americans today are heedlessly pursuing a vision of freedom that is short-lived and suicidal. Once again, freedom without virtue, leadership without character, business without trust, law without customs, education without meaning and medicine, science and technology without human considerations can end only in disaster.

Taken from A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future by Os Guinness Copyright (c) 2013 by Os Guinness. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Richard A. Horsley

There is power in bringing untold stories to light. The freedom to speak about the reality of suffering and death results in a freedom from denial.

George Orwell

The relative freedom which we enjoy depends of public opinion. the law is no protection. governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. if large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.

 “Freedom of the Park.” in Tribune. London. December 7, 1945. Reprinted in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell. Edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus. Harcourt: New York. 1968.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Being free means “being free for the other, because the other has bound me to him. Only in relationship with the other am I free.

Peter Geach

Our freedom is our supreme dignity; that makes us children of the Most high; we can enjoy it only by living in a partly chancy world.

Providence and Evil

Mike Wilkerson

If your story of redemption stops at your healing or your freedom, then you do not yet have God’s vision for redemption.

Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011), p.172.

John L. Mackay

God’s people are not freed so that they may go their own way. They are saved so that they may realise the purposes of God.” We are saved for God, not for ourselves. Freedom is not freedom from all constraints on an individual: freedom is abundant life in Christ for others.


The greatest gift that God . . . made in Creation, and the most formidable to His Goodness, and that which he prizes the most, was the freedom of the will.

The Divine Comedy

Lesslie Newbigin

True freedom is not found by seeking to develop the powers of the self without limits, for the human person is not made for autonomy but for true relatedness in love and obedience; and this also entails the acceptance of limits as a necessary part of what it means to be human.

Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture (Grand Rapids, MI : Eerdmans, 1986), 119.

G.K. Chesterton

[The chief aim of Christianity] was to give room for good things to run wild.


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