Tuesday in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

John 8:31-38

What It Means to Be Free

Freedom is something we Americans cherish.  Indeed, we are a nation founded on the very notion that people should be free to pursue their own dreams, provided they don’t violate others in the process of realizing them.  As long as we are talking about striving to better ourselves in hopes of serving others, this is well and good. (Unfortunately in our day, freedom has degenerated to mean the ability to do what I want to do with my body when I want to do it, especially as that pertains to sex.)

But the problem is when people define freedom in the Scriptures along those same lines.  Freedom in the Bible has nothing to do with “self-actualization,” living one’s dream, and certainly not the hedonistic whims of fulfilling one’s every passion.  Jesus defines freedom for us: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  So here we understand that freedom in the Scriptures is freedom from sin that is given us by the Son.  And how does this freedom come about?  Well, Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  This only comes by being in relationship to Jesus Christ by saving faith – believing in him.  Please understand: We do not mean just believing he lived and died or even rose again, but a true, heartfelt reliance upon and clinging unto him.  Knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord defines us; it is not just something that is an add-on to our lives.

And as believers who know him and desire to experience the freedom which only really matters – freedom from sin – we must abide in his word.  His word must become our meat and our drink; it must be in our hearts at all times.  We must come to the place that we are thinking about his word even when we’re not thinking about it.  His word becomes the very center of our lives out of which we live.  And this then becomes our true liberation and our freedom.  (See John 15 for more about “abiding in him.”)

It’s amusing what people think about heaven – be it angels on clouds or mountains or beaches.  Generally, people see heaven as what they want to see it, doing what they want to do when they want to do it.  That’s hell.  Heaven is freedom from selfish desire and consuming passion, remade after the image of Christ, beholding the glory of the Lord.  “Better to be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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