Sunday, June 1, 2014
"The truth shall set you free"
It is 5:30 on an early Sunday evening. I have tears in my eyes. Each one, almost as unexplainable as the next. One cannot always give a rational explanation regarding the power of the way God moves within us and what he can do to a life on a moment by moment basis. The power of change, to release the chains within - that is His will for us all. And I look around with my minds eye at this world around me; I know that there are so many more that were just as I - afraid to step out into the light that removes the darkness, exposing the truth about everything within themselves. There is a trouble with the truth that I believe keeps most people from even contemplating all that is our God...knowing what is true brings what is and was not right to light - and with this knowledge, one must walk away from what he thought he once knew, and into the great mystery that is our Lord and Savior. Faith, begins here.
I dwell upon the words of John 8:31-32 today. "Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free..." But, what is this truth? What reckoning have I come to personally that has set me free? What truth has set my fellow believers free? The truth of the truth is this: Knowing and applying the words of Christ Jesus as the way to life. Just go back one verse and we read in context what Jesus was saying and why: "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you continue (to walk in) in my word (logos), you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." I tell you, what I find so reassuring to my faith is what he was talking about specifically and its impact as found in the surrounding verses of these powerful scriptures. In verse 30, it states, "Even as he spoke, many believed in him". Dwell upon that for a moment, and wonder within yourself the absolute power of the Word of Truth. It changed these learned Jewish leaders instantly. They were able to walk away from 2,000 years of law and repetition and animal sacrifice and temple worship and the religion of their forefathers, and consider a different way of life altogether, with just hearing the words flow from the mouth of Jesus. Instantly. So, what do you have to walk away from that may keep you from fully believing in the words of Christ Jesus? Is it a family member? Is it friends that believe it is just not cool to be a Christian? Is it the liberal indoctrination that has plagued our institutions of learning, making the belief in God seem foolish? Our adversary is amazing at presenting what seems to be viable and more reliable options than having faith today. He seeks to consume and devour with lies - while Christ seeks to shelter you with truth and deliverance. Let's go back to the book of John now, and see what freedom the truth of His word would give to the doer and hearer - to those who would 'walk in his word'. To anyone who can open their hearts upon this, it will change your life forever.
In the following verses of John 8 verses 33-36, we read, "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?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
To those listening to Jesus who did not believe or understand at that moment, they asked what was really a valid question with historical support in their eyes. In short, they replied to Jesus; 'We are not slaves to anyone, we have not been since Abraham...so what freedom is it that we need? We are already free.' Jesus said in return ' You are a slave to sin, because you are all sinners - and that is what you are a slave to... and I have come to set you free from the bondage of sin and all of its effects upon you, and only I can set you free. I want you to be my family. And know this; if I set you free, you will truly be free'. You see, the Jews at that time believed that by their own way of life and righteousness, based upon works of the law as given to Moses, they were able to manage their own destiny. Jesus was telling them otherwise. Jesus could only be a fulfillment of the law of Moses, to the believer. To the non-believer, they were still held captive by works, and not freed by having faith in His Word, and therefore, were still condemned by the sins that they committed. This alone removed them from the protection and gift of grace and mercy as only made possible and available by Jesus Christ himself. From all of this I gather in my heart, the absolute importance of walking in, hearing, reading and applying the Words of God that came to humankind directly from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself.
The reality of the meaning found in the words spoken by Jesus are by far the most important words that have ever been spoken to man since this worlds creation. The words of Christ Jesus, are literally, life-giving and life-saving. Sin is bondage - and Christ is the key that unlocks these chains within us, and provides freedom to the hearer. Christ Jesus changed the world, by the truth found in His words. We can do the same by speaking these to those who will believe in His words today. We are His spokesmen. How important it is, knowing this, that we share the light of truth today. I think of how Peter understood the power in the words of Jesus Christ when he said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) Jesus echoed these words in verse 63 of the same chapter; "The words I have spoken to you-they are full of the spirit and life."
I have a new life now. I am a new creation. I have been born again. And this change, this release from the chains and bondage that was sin and death is now freedom and life, and it was coming to a realization and understanding of the words spoken by Christ over 2,000 years ago that has initiated this transfer of my fate and destiny in His name. In this knowledge, I find meaning and purpose, and it is a purpose that is much larger than the life I can live here and now, today. It extends beyond the temporal, and into the eternal. I look at things much different now, because of the truth and freedom that is alive in grace, because of His love. I dare one, to step out into the oceans of faith, and renounce all that is this life of sin and death, and accept the words of the Bible as fact, and not fiction. Therein, you will surely find peace, hope, faith and love, and release from the chains that bind you, where his eternal words, will find you.