Thursday, June 26, 2014
Free in Christ!
Before going to pick up our daughter in Vietnam, my husband and I made lists of essential items to bring on the trip. Garth is a bit of a germaphobe. He was worried about the drinking water in Vietnam, and so he brought a water purifier and iodine tablets to rid our drinking water of bacteria. Luckily, we were able to purchase bottled water in Vietnam. However, in a Vietnamese store, we saw one brand that bore the following words on its label: "Free Bacteria." This was obviously a grammatical mistake. Needless to say, we did not purchase this brand of water!:)
John 8: 31-35
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
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.
Later in John we read,
Jesus said: " I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
What does it mean that the truth will set us free?
Academic organizations will use the phrase stated by Jesus, "The truth will set you free." to posit that knowledge will open a new world to us and allow us to better understand what we experience in life. Yet, I don't think this was Christ's intent when He made the statement. His words had nothing to do with classroom learning. Jesus was speaking about a different sort of knowledge. Christ had just spoken at the temple where He was explaining that He is not of this world. He was telling those gathered that we will die in our sins if we do not put our faith in Him (John 8:23-24). Many believed in Jesus because of His teaching that day (John 8:30). Jesus then spoke to His followers: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples" (John 8:31). Christ was implying more than academic knowledge. His followers "hold" to His teaching or Word. His Word gives them an understanding that brings freedom - freedom, not from governmental oppression but from spiritual oppression. We are free from sin and the anxiety it brings to us. In verse 35 of John 8, Jesus says, "Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever." If we do not know Christ, we are slaves to sin. Yet, if we "hold" to his Word and know that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, we become His adopted children and, despite not being biological descendants of Abraham, are now members of God's family. Those who believe in Christ as the Truth are free from sin and are invited into the family of Christ.
What does this mean to me? I may still have to worry about bacteria, but my conscience is clear, even when I do stupid things or make mistakes, or say something fallacious - because I am free in Christ. I can live unburdened in the knowledge that my Savior loves me and forgives me. Praise be to God!