What is true freedom and where does it come from?
John 8 (NASB)
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
The Amplified Bible translates “continue” as “abide”. If we want to be His disciples, if we want freedom, then we need to abide or literally live or dwell in His word. That is not only daily reading the Bible and memorizing scripture, but living it out. What good is it to read the Bible and know it if we live contrary to it? The only way to know the truth is to live it. Otherwise we prove that we do not truly know or believe it.
If someone said they knew and believed that a harness would protect them from falling off of some height, but then quivered with fear of falling they prove that they do not really believe that they are safe. They do not trust the harness they claimed to believe in. It is the same with God’s word; obedience doesn’t save us, but it proves that we are saved, that we believe His word.
Jesus goes on to say that those He spoke to were not children of God but of Satan because they acted like Satan. It is so with us also. We act like our father. Who do you emulate? In your daily life do you act like God or Satan? Do you live wisely and sacrificially, or out of selfishness and pride?
So abiding gives knowledge of truth. This truth is simply what He says. And what He says frees us, from what? In verses 34 and 35 He explains that He is talking about spiritual freedom from bondage to sin. Many people think that is freedom from the law, but that is not true. We are no longer saved by keeping the law because of Jesus’ sacrifice, but we are still called to obey it, otherwise we prove that we are not saved. We are not given freedom to do what we want, but to do what we ought. Jesus came to free us from sin. Without Him we have no choice. We have no power to resist sin. Sure you may be able to keep from doing really bad things, but sin still has control over you. It is only by believing in Jesus’ sacrifice and claim to deity that we are given the power to resist temptation. And we are expected to use it. But do you? Do you take and use the power that God has made available to you to resist? Do you actively and intentionally avoid sin?
This all comes back to the first point: if we are truly abiding in God’s word, if we are absorbed and immersed in His truth, if we are living out His will then we will be avoiding sin. That is how the truth sets us free, by dwelling in it. If someone gives you a pair of wings so that you can fly over a swamp, and you use it, you will naturally be saved from the swamp by using the wings given to you. It is the same with God’s truth. It all works together.
So, are you abiding in His word? Is that foremost in you mind and life on a daily basis? Have you accepted and used the freedom that He offers?