Monday, January 11, 2016

The Truth Shall Make You Free, pt. 1

One of the most well-known statements in the Bible Jesus made in John 8:32:

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

These words are carved in stone on the outside of Berkeley High School in downtown Berkeley, California.  We know that Jesus meant that the truth would make someone free from the domination of sin.  We also know that's not how Berkeley High School was taking the verse to mean, which it etched on its educational edifice.

Freedom is one of the most confused and controversial concepts in the minds of men.  They don't know what freedom is.  After Jesus' audience objected that they were already free (John 8:33), verse 34 reads:

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

People commit sin, present tense, as a lifestyle, because they are slaves of sin.  Sin is a bad act, but there is a power underneath the bad act that makes people do it.  They do it, they sin, because they are compelled to do so.  They are not free to live righteous by nature.  People are slaves to a power inside of them, which destroys them in two ways, through the domination of sin and the damnation of sin.

I understand that people think that when they sin, they do so according to freedom.  They even see the sinning as a kind of statement of freedom.  Our founding fathers didn't see this as freedom.  In their writings, they called this license.  License is different than freedom.  It isn't freedom.

You will hear today people call someone "ignorant" who opposes same sex marriage.  In this concept of freedom, the truth sets someone free to marry someone of the same sex.  The people who oppose are ignorant, that is, they don't know the truth about marriage that will set them free to marry someone of the same sex or at least accept others who do.

God ordained government to restrict people.  Restriction seems to people as something that isn't freedom.  If you are restricted, you are not free.  However, government exists not to restrict freedom, but to protect it.  Government protects people's rights and their rights are their freedom.  This subject that I'm addressing, that relates to everything that we do, Paul addressed in the epistle to the Galatians.

In Galatians 5:13-16 Paul wrote:

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Freedom is not the indulgence of the flesh (v. 13a), is not the opportunity to injure others (vv. 13b, 15), and not disobedience to God's law (vv. 14, 16).  The essence of human freedom is, like Jesus (Romans 15:1-3), not about pleasing yourself.

When you do what you do compelled by your lust, that is bondage, not freedom, and everyone is compelled by lust to choose something other than God, which is idolatry, worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.  You think you're getting your way, but you're getting domination of sin and damnation of the soul.  The desire of things more than Jesus sends you on a ride all the way to hell.  People call that freedom, but it is license.

Knowing that men call the indulgence of the flesh, freedom, Jesus said in John 8:36:

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

The Son shall make you "free indeed," that is, compared to the other, so-called "freedom," or truly free.  You are not truly free when you are in bondage to your own lust, to sin.  You are not free indeed.  Samuel West wrote:

The most perfect freedom consists in obeying the dictates of right reason, and submitting to natural law. When a man goes beyond or contrary to the law of nature and reason, he becomes the slave of base passions and vile lusts; he introduces confusion and disorder into society, and brings misery and destruction upon himself. This, therefore, cannot be called a state of freedom, but a state of the vilest slavery and the most dreadful bondage. The servants of sin and corruption are subjected to the worst kind of tyranny in the universe. Hence we conclude that where licentiousness begins, liberty ends.

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