Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 11, 1971
NUMBER 43, PAGE 9b-10

The Greatest Freedom

George Welsh Tyler

There lies within the human heart the inherent desire for freedom. Again and again throughout human history, in both word and deed, men have re-echoed the famous cry, "Give me liberty, or give me death." Some men have shown themselves willing to sell their freedom for personal popularity, material gain or security of life itself. We have some of this class causing trouble in the church of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Such are to be looked upon with pity and contempt. No battle cry has rallied men to its support as the battle cry of freedom.

This universal desire is answered by the Divine promise of freedom. Among the most cherished of the Messianic prophecies is Isa. 61:1: "The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah hath appointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Jesus surprised His fellow unbelieving townsmen in the synagogue at Nazareth when He said, "Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears" (Lk. 4:21).

Speaking to the Jews in Jerusalem, Jesus enlarged on the meaning of the freedom which He brought and the means by which it was to be accomplished. I have heard the social gospel advocates quote John 8:32, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" and glibly proceed to apply this passage to the social problems of today when in fact no such meaning lay in the words as Jesus spoke them. The complete sentence reads, "Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, if ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jno. 8:31, 32). If language means anything at all, the freedom which came to give is derived from the truth, and the truth is learned from His word.

The Jews immediately became enraged at the suggestion that they were not free: "We are Abraham's seed, and have yet been in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, ye shall be made free?" (Jno. 8:33). Passing over their bondage to Rome, their slavery to rabbinical traditions and social customs, Jesus states the nature of their bondage and the freedom with which He is dealing saying, "Verily, verily I say unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin ... If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (Jno. 8:34, 36).

The freedom so greatly needed, then, is freedom from sin; this freedom can be achieved only through knowledge of the truth; that truth which liberates the soul of man from bondage is the truth about the Christ.

When Jesus used the word "Truth" He meant all that is embodied in the Life He manifested and the doctrines He taught — both in His incarnation and by the Holy Spirit through His apostles. John wrote, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth." (Jno. 1:14). Again, "The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (Jno. 1:17). Jesus said to Simon Peter, "I am the way, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me" (Jno. 14:6). Referring to the Holy Spirit Jesus said, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come" (Jno. 16:13). In His farewell prayer Jesus prayed for His apostles and all the disciples who should come after them as follows, "Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth" (Jno. 17:17).

That which is truth is that which is real, genuine, veritable. The truth is not a philosophical abstraction which is reached by the reasoning of the human mind as many who claim they have been studiously searching for the truth for many years would have us believe. Truth is not relative to time, change or feeling. Truth, all truth, originates in the mind of God and is divine and an everlasting fact. David said, "All the paths of Jehovah are loving kindness and truth" (Ps. 25:10). Again, "Thou art nigh, 0 Jehovah: and thy commandments are truth" (Ps. 119:151). Again, "The sum of thy word is truth: and every one of thy ordinances endureth forever" (Ps. 119:160). The apostle Paul wrote, "But ye did not so learn Christ: if so be that ye heard him, even as truth is in Christ" (Eph. 4:20, 21). The truth which Jesus brings and wishes men to trust in is the eternal verities of God which are in contradistinction to that which is temporal. Paul wrote, "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). Again, "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, they are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17). See also Heb. 12:27: Jno. 6:27 and I John 2:15 to 17. The truth of God abides forever and is unchangeable. Paul wrote, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and forever" Heb. 13:8'

Those who "walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7) are beyond any doubt free. If one depends on the wisdom of man he cannot be free for he is imprisoned by the limitations of the reason of man. It is impossible for the mind of man to plumb the depths of the wisdom of God. Study the first chapter of Romans and the first three chapters of First Corinthians thoughtfully and prayerfully. The truth found in Christ gives man freedom in three ways; (1) freedom from evil habits and enslavement to sin in all forms can come only through knowledge of the truth and obedience to it; (2) freedom from spiritual lies, falsehoods, deceptions and prejudices which are used by evil men to enslave the minds of men and women through the perversions of the truth; (3) Freedom from the awful consequences of unrighteousness.

Freedom through God's truth seems to be the theme of the great apostle Paul in the eighth chapter of Romans, the Galatian epistle and the eighth, ninth and tenth chapters of First Corinthians.

Speaking to His disciples whom He commissioned as apostles, He made a promise, "Howbeit when the Spirit of truth is come, he shall guide you into all the truth" (Jno. 16:13). On the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, this promise was fulfilled. The Holy Spirit came upon them and the apostles spoke the truth about Jesus, that "God hath made him both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). Three thousand obeyed the gospel call and were made free from the bondage of sin.

This was closely and diligently followed by the faithful proclamation of that truth which resulted in the liberation of great multitudes throughout the then known parts of the world from the bondage of sin. Paul himself wrote, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). To the Corinthians he wrote, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3:7). In Gal. 5:1, Paul writes, "For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage." This freedom in Christ is within the regulation of the Law of Christ. "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2).

Individual Christians, are you doing anything at all to tell your friends, neighbors, relatives or men with whom you work about that great freedom in Christ? Have you tried to arrange Bible study classes in your homes or those of your friends and neighbors to teach them the way of salvation which can be obtained only through Christ (2 Tim. 2:10)? Christ's command is "Go" and "Teach." What are you going to do about it? He expects you to obey. If you disobey you sin. Paul says, "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). I urge you to Think!! Then Act!!!

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