As we approach Independence Day, it’s good to remember something the Lord said about freedom:
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him, “If you remain in My word, you are My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…. Truly, truly, I say to you, Everyone committing sin is the servant of sin. And the servant does not remain in the house forever; the Son remains forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall certainly be free” (John 8:31-32, 34-36).
“The truth shall make you free”: words are often quoted. But we need to remember the context: “If you remain in My word, you are truly My disciples.” By remaining in Jesus’ word, we will know the truth and the truth of His word will set us free. We remain in His word by doing as He commands us.
What kind of freedom was Jesus especially interested in providing? Freedom from sin. Not just freedom from the guilt of sin, but freedom from the craving to sin. If we restrain ourselves from doing what the Lord tells us not to do, and do the things he asks us to do because He asks us to do them, little by little He sets us free. He frees us from slavery or addiction to lusts. Then we will remain in His house forever.
We have the blessing of living in a free, prosperous country. But imagine how much happier and freer our country would be if even a small percentage of us would remain in Jesus’ word more faithfully, and a small percentage of us who have not been following the Lord would begin to do so. We would be more productive at work, resisting the chance to cut corners or to cheat people. We would be kinder at home, striving to love one another as He has loved us. The number of broken homes would go down and prosperity would increase. We would not need as many taxes to support victims of crime and abuse, or to pay for prisons.
The Lord gave us His Word to set us free. The United States of America was founded on the truth that all men are endowed by their Creator with an unalienable Right to Liberty. This is one of the main reasons our country has been so prosperous and happy. And even better days are ahead if we remain in His word, for then we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free.
Happy Fourth of July!
Rev. Lawson M. Smith