I have heard countless times about how we are free. I was born and I have lived my entire life in the United States and the message of freedom is very much identified with its citizens. America the land of the free and the home of the brave seems to be the national slogan. The United States of America is not alone in this thinking. All the nations of the so-called West all tout freedom as being the central point of the national cultures. Democracy and Capitalism are seen as to be a central part of a system of free people.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (NIV)
The Jews too thought that they were free, but Jesus told them that if they sin then they were not free, rather that they were slaves to sin. True freedom is only attained in Christ.
Near where I grew up there is a school that has formed into a prominent quote, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” That quote was taken from [John 8:32]
above but is totally misquoted, that is, quoted out of context. I don’t know how many times I have heard that quote and it is always quoted the same way, that is, it expresses the idea that you can study and learn and the knowledge that you gain will bring you freedom. That is not a true sentiment. Truth can set you free, but the truth is not learned in school.
Notice that John 8:31 says, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said …” Jesus did not tell everyone how they might be set free. He told those that believed him. In fact, pretty much, Jesus only ever talked to those that would believe him. Freedom comes only through submission to Christ Jesus. A person cannot be free apart from Jesus. It is utterly and totally impossible.
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” If you hold to Jesus’ teaching, says he. A person cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless he subjects himself to the teaching of the Bible. And it is through this relationship of Master and obedient student that freedom comes.
Sin is like the smallest yet most totally deadly and incurable poison. A drop in the minutest amount is irrevocably fatal. Once ingested you are a goner.
2 Samuel 14:14
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. (NIV)
This wise woman that spoke these words to King David was talking about this fatal nature of sin when she said that we must die. We have each and every one of us sinned and so each and every one of us must die. We are not free for we are subject to sin, that is, death. But, this wise woman goes on to say that God did not abandon us to sin and death, but rather he devised a way in which we might be reunited with Him.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
This is saying what I have been saying, and that is, if you are guilty of sin then you must die. But, God devised a way to resurrect us from death and bring us to life.
Jesus was a man that not once lived for himself. He read the Scriptures and ordered himself to every revelation contained within them. Jesus was in every sense a servant of God Most High. The Scriptures say, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28] (NIV) Jesus believed this even before this was written. He believed it and he lived by it. Jesus believed that each and every little occurrence in his life was orchestrated by God and therefore was there for his benefit. Jesus trusted in God in every situation because of his understanding concerning this. My friend, this is a huge thing. It is easy to miss this, but it is nonetheless critical that you do not. If you love God as you say that you do, then each and every little thing in your life is there to teach you something, or to help you in some way.
But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (NIV)
You do not resist an evil person in this way because God has allowed it to happen to you. If God has allowed it to happen to you then you needed it. When you submit to God in this way then you will come to know the Truth and then the Truth will set you free. It is like an oxymoron. You must submit to Christ as his slave before you can really and truly be free. Weird but true.
When you become Christ’s obedient slave, as it were, you experience peace and then the truth of things begins to dawn on you. You can’t see the truth when you are fighting against it. When you are fighting against the truth then sin is in control and you are (against your will) a slave to sin. Every single person that fights against God is a slave to sin. Sin will reign in their life and will condemn them to eternal death.