Free to be Disciples

Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

Christ offers freedom in the Gospel to all who believe. This is a marvelous truth and the blessed hope of all who trust in Christ as savior. However, we sometimes can confuse worldly notions of freedom with what Jesus offers here. Sinners naturally want freedom, but Jesus is not interested in giving us greater freedom to sin.

What Jesus offers in the Gospel is true freedom, but a freedom to live under good and gracious authority. Humans are dependent beings; we are simply not able to exist apart from relationship to others. This is especially true regarding our relationship with God. We are either submitting to Him as obedient children, or we are rebelling against Him as servants of another master.

Christianity (i.e. belief in Christ) is an all-of-life transformation. Christians are freed from sin and judgment, and they are given a new and better King – namely the heavenly Father. God’s words are joy-filled and life-giving to the hearts of those who love Him, and this is the very definition of what it means to be a Christian disciple.

We are free to lovingly submit to our good heavenly Father.

Freedom in Darkness?

Does darkness really free us at all?

Does a shadowy covering make sinners free from guilt, condemnation, and shame?

NOT in the slightest!

There is no freedom in darkness! There is the empty promise of freedom, but there is only greater and more destructive bondage. How free is the disease-ridden man who only stays locked up in his home so that his friends and his doctor will not notice his disease? He is not free! He is a slave to his disease! He is a slave to his foolish desire for a false freedom.

If this is true of a physical disease, how much more bondage do you prefer because of your sin and your love of darkness?!

Is the frivolous spender free because he acquires more credit cards with greater limits to hide his foolish spending? Does he not enslave himself to those creditors and his foolish desires?

Is the insecure mother free because she rarely invites company into her home in order to hide the chaos of it? Does she not enslave herself to the fear and anxiety of an unexpected guest?

Is the irresponsible father free because he spends a great deal of time away from his family in order to avoid the painful reminders of his lacking involvement? Does he not enslave himself to those very constraints on his time that he so regularly uses for an excuse to be away?

Is the disobedient teenager free because she hides her activity from her parents? Does she not enslave herself by hiding her true feelings and struggles from those who love her most? Does she not make herself unknowable by the very ones who yearn to know her best?

What about the freedom of the liar, the cheat, the thief, the lazy, the proud, the greedy, or the lustful? Do any of these experience freedom in darkness?

What about the homosexual, the promiscuous, or the adulterer? Are these free because they practice their deeds in darkness? Are these free because anyone says a kind word to them in the shroud of their sin? What relief can be given to one who clings so tightly to that thing which he knows condemns him?

Hopefully, you see the absurdity of placing any hope in darkness.

May it be that God would graciously remove your contentment to remain unknown and unexposed. And may God enable you to come into the light, through the person and work of Jesus Christ.*

 

*Please see my article “Where is your shame?”