Freedom is a most precious possession. Every creature desires and enjoys its freedom. Place a worm or an insect in a jar and it will work to get free. Put a dog on a leash and restrain him in one place and he will howl and bark to be set free. We humans are no different. We do not want our liberties tampered with.
On one occasion, Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" John 8:31,32. The key to genuine freedom is found in the phrase; "continue in my word". Jesus says we come to know the truth by continuing in His teachings, and truth is that which will liberate us or make us free. The problem we are faced with has been expressed by the Pop Artist who chanted: "Put your hand in the hand of the man who stills the waters". The beat and the lyrics were good enough to push the tune into the top ten for a while. But most of us found the sentiment too naive by which to live. Instead, we keep on trying to put our hands and our hopes in the Gross National Product, the Dow-Jones averages, and Wall Street.
Dare we forget what God said, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" Luke 12:20,21. The news commentator, Paul Harvey, commenting on our country as a nation adrift from God, stated some time ago, "We keep singing, 'God bless America' but we forget to tell Him why!" Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that we don't have a legitimate reason to offer as to why America should be blessed. History will bear out that nations have enjoyed freedom and have maintained that freedom in proportion to their love and concern for truth. Jesus said, that truth would liberate us, set us free from the bondage of sin and Satan. Is Jesus implying that our physical freedom will be affected? I think so. For when our lives are directed by the Lord's truth, we are going to be recipients of His blessings. He will look upon us with favor and cause us to prosper. To paraphrase Psalm 33:12, David wrote: "The nation whose God is the Lord will be blessed". Allow me to show you why this is true. When we live by the principles of truth we are not bound by Satan. The application of truth will eliminate social as well as moral evils. Sin is what leads to drunkenness, fornication, adultery, idolatry, homosexuality, lasciviousness, and all other forms of immorality.
Truth will lead men and women, boys and girls to love one another. To the extent that we love one another, we shall also respect each other's rights and privileges. Jesus said when asked about the first commandment, "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, 0 Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" Mark 12 :30,31 .
When we have love for God and our neighbor, it will necessitate living by the principle found in the Golden Rule, "Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them" Matthew 7:12. Or as we have coined the thought: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Such behavior will contribute to peaceful relationships. It will also demand honest dealings. The Bible says, "Provide things honest in the sight of all men" Romans 12:17. The application of the Golden Rule will cause us to have respect for law and order. This style and quality of living will always lead to the blessings of the Lord. We must understand that freedom is not something that can be legislated. It cannot be guaranteed by maintaining large armies or police forces. It comes when men and women submit to the will of the Lord.
May I call your attention to the prophet Elisha and his servant, while in the land of Dothan. The Syrian army had surrounded the city to take them captive. Elisha asked God to open the eyes of his servant. The Lord opened his eyes and he looked and the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around (II Kings 6). God had the prophet say to his servant, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them" 2 Kings 6:16. We are reminded of the words of Paul, when he asked, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31.
If we walk in truth and worship in truth, we have nothing to fear. We shall be free people in the Lord.
Remember, Jesus said to those disciples who had believed on Him, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31,32) We cannot overemphasize the importance of truth. It is the difference between honestly and dishonesty, right and wrong, and often the difference between success and failure, or life and death. We are not satisfied with anything less than the truth in science, finance, or in that which we are told by our friends. If we learn that some business house has dealt with us dishonestly even to a small degree we will shun that place in the future.
Truth is even more important where the welfare of our souls is involved. Only the truth of God can make us free. The truth leads to our sanctification, that is, the setting our ourselves apart to God and His service. Jesus prayed: "Sanctify them in Thy truth; Thy word is truth." (John 17:17) Christ Himself is the personification of truth, and He spoke of Himself as "the Way, The Truth, and the Life." (John 14:6) Then He affirmed that no one can come to the Father but by Him. Jesus has made it clear that the truth He taught, the truth He came to this earth to bring from the Father, is the only means for the salvation of our souls. How we ought to love that truth, seek to understand it, and to live by it!
The search for truth is a lifelong challenge. This is especially true of our search for the truth of God's word, for we are surrounded by so many different religious philosophies, and there are so many people who are willing to pervert or alter the truth - some to try to justify themselves in some unrighteousness which they enjoy, to justify their attempts to obtain some kind of ungodly gain, or for other reasons. We must remember that error is in the world, and we must guard against it. Jesus came and died for humanity to make it clear that it does make a difference what we believe. The very fact that God has given us the Bible is evidence that He wants us to study it, learn its truth, and abide in it. Jesus has promised that those who follow Him, walking in His word, shall know the truth and thereby be made free from sin. In Deuteronomy 4:2 God commanded His people by Moses: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it. that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18,19 teach the same solemn truth regarding the seriousness of our altering God's word. Galatians 1:6-9 and 2 John 9-11 declare the curse of God upon any who refuses to abide in the teaching of Christ. Let us therefore not deceive ourselves into thinking it is not important that we study to know and obey God's truth.
We encourage you to become a daily and careful student of God's word of truth. Don't just read, or merely listen to what people say about its teaching. Form the habit of searching the sacred volume for yourself, that you may have a good understanding of what it teaches. When Paul said in I Corinthians 14:19 that he would rather speak five words in an understandable language than ten thousand words in a tongue which other's would not understand, he showed the importance of our letting the Bible speak to us, and accepting its message as it's truth God's message to us. It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our pathway. (Psalm 119:105) Search it. Seek to understand it. Always be willing to accept and obey it. If we can help, we would welcome the opportunity. It is the truth which can and will make us free if we will abide in its holy teachings.