Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Truth Shall Make You Free, pt. 2

Part One

When Jesus said "the truth shall make you free" in John 8:32, He was saying that the truth, which was salvation truth found in Him, could set men free from bondage to sin, which would dominate and damn them.  The freedom Jesus teaches is freedom.  No one can be freer than the freedom Jesus offers.

The freedom Jesus taught was the same freedom that the Apostle Paul taught all over His epistles and especially in 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Galatians.  I wrote in part one that this freedom was not freedom from the law, that is, it was not freedom to disobey God's law.  Some people think that being free from the law (Romans 7:6) means that we’re no longer responsible to obey the moral commandments of God.  It has nothing to do with that.  It is to be free from the condemnation of the law, that is, it is to be free from being killed by the penalty of unsuccessful law keeping.  Being free from the law doesn’t mean that now I can do whatever I want.

When a person is free, he can and will keep God's commandments, that is, he is not compelled to sin any more as a lifestyle.  He can flourish and thrive as a human being, which could be described as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  That is to be "free indeed" as Jesus described it (John 8:36).

I wish to apply this freedom to the type of obedience to God that is most characterized today, even by professing Christians, as bondage and not freedom.  Paul describes the bondage, the opposite of freedom, of human beings in Romans 1.  Because they believe the lie and not the truth that would set them free, they continue captivated to their own vile lusts, which includes the perversion of the God designed roles of men and women.  For instance, when a woman can function more like a man, people call that "women's liberation."

In more than any other way, a country is considered to be "repressed" if it's women must dress and behave according to biblical, often called traditional, roles.  If women must dress distinct from men, that requirement is portrayed as stifling to freedom.  Women are considered to be most free if they are free to take their clothes off and reveal as much skin as they desire.

Even to Christians today, being free from the law, to them means being free from Deuteronomy 22:5:

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

To many, the least free women are where their church or their men require them to wear dresses and skirts with a plain distinction from pants as a male garment.  To many Christian leaders, women are not free if they cannot wear pants.  They now characterize designed distinction, a plain symbol of the male and female role, as controlling women's freedom with arbitrary laws.

No, freedom enables obedience to God's law.  Women can dress according to their designed roles, with a distinct symbol of femininity.  This is freedom.  Women are not free because they "get to wear pants."  Jesus said (John 8:34), "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."  Sin is the transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4).  Women transgress God's law when they wear the male garment.  Men transgress God's law when they abdicate male headship.

I very purposefully struck where believers have capitulated on freedom.  They think they are more free, and not legalistic, because they have taken away the restriction.  Restrictions are necessary for freedom.  There is no free enterprise when a market cannot operate without robbery.  There is no free trade when the government picks the winners and the losers.   John Adams said,

Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.  The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue; and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies.

Believers concede freedom when they choose license.  Freedom is not license.  I am not free to play horseshoes in my neighbor's lawn.  I am not free to shoot a bald eagle.

Think of the bondage of a grudge and of revenge.  If there is no God, survival at any cost, the law of the jungle, is the supreme law.  Since there is a dimension that transcends nature, a God who provides a moral compass and presides over human affairs, one can let go of vengeance and seek a higher justice.  This is freedom.  You don't have it without the restriction of God on you that will only succeed without the compelling desire for vengeance, making you a slave to it.  You may really want revenge, but you don't have to have it, because you can trust God with justice.  Men will not get away with sin.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the liberty that allows and enables to keep His law.  The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us when we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Romans 8:4).  The works of the flesh do not reveal freedom, but bondage.

1 comment:

Kent Brandenburg said...

I don't expect to receive comments for every post I write, but I'm commenting here on posts I don't receive comments. I don't write for comments, but I know that you don't get comments as a whole on very doctrinal or exegetical posts. It must get more controversial and issue oriented to receive comments. That is also what gets the most clicks. I'm getting a big number of clicks on my blog as a whole, but I get more when I write on something more controversial. I don't write on controversy to write on controversy. If I write something controversial, it's because I was thinking about it and wanted to write about it. It just happens to be controversial when it is.

On the other hand, I think this is a very important issue, and this particular post is more controversial than the first, because I used the pant-skirt issue as an illustration of freedom not being freedom from law keeping, but freedom to keep the law. I believe the particular dress issue illustrates how this has been abused. At the same time, those who believe like I do are said to be abusing freedom somehow and it is just the opposite. People don't want to think about a violation being an abomination. If they just don't think about it, they won't feel responsible for disobeying that law. I think people know it is true. They just don't want to do it, so they explain it away.