In Psalm 119, the psalmist recounts the benefits of obeying God’s commandments. Praising the law’s ability to guide and strengthen is understandable, but how can statutes bring liberty? In fact, laws connote quite the opposite—rigid restrictions for all and punishment for those who disobey.
How can the psalmist walk at liberty? Doesn’t he feel bound by God’s precepts? Doesn’t liberty mean doing whatever one pleases, not following the directions of others? This might be the common notion of “liberty,” but it isn’t the definition the psalmist has in mind. He knows that doing what we wish makes us bound by sin. True liberty is to be free from sin and death (Rom 6:16-17). Human laws are imperfect, but God’s laws are infallible and eternal. As Christians, we are under the grace of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are liberated from sin and are free to do nobler things—those that are helpful and edifying (1 Cor 10:23). True freedom is the spiritual freedom to produce the fruit of holiness and pursue everlasting life (Rom 6:22).
Jesus told the believers, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). The truth is the word of God, found in the Bible. How can it set us free? The truth contains the commandments of God, which show us the path to eternal life. Once we know the truth, its power attracts us and we follow it. By following the truth, we are free from the world, because we look forward to better things. Unpleasant things, such as fear of failure or death, have no hold over us, for perfect love casts out fear (1Jn 4:18). With the hope of salvation, the constraints of the world cannot deter us from our walk to heaven. Instead, we will always rejoice in the Lord; nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:39).
The word of God is not only just, but also loving. When we obey God’s commandments, we follow in His perfect love and truth, which lead to salvation. We are no longer bound by anything in this world. Thus God’s precepts will allow us to walk at liberty.