Freed by the Truth
Really, true freedom depends on allowing the Spirit of Truth to lead us. And we can trust the spirit’s leading because, as Jesus said:
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.”
– John 16:13-14
The spirit will not lead you in any path in opposition to what Jesus taught when on earth. It will not lead us in one direction and then reverse course as if it had made a mistake. Jesus ‘came correct.’ So does the Spirit of Truth.
The spirit will not lead you to glorify men or teach the commands of men. Instead, it will enlarge, expand, deepen and illuminate Jesus’ teachings and show you how to better apply them. It will give enhanced meaning to the parables and illustrations Jesus used without altering their fundamental message. This is the meaning of the ‘shining ever brighter till the full light of day.’ (Proverbs 4:18) It will promote brotherly love and tolerance. It will inspire courage and service to one another, and give peace of mind. And most importantly, it will ultimately glorify the Father of All.
Without the Spirit of Truth, we are left to the custody of men and are subjected to their personal understandings and interpretations. As a result, we would be nothing more than “the blind lead the blind.” (Matthew 15:14) This was the fate of those who trusted in the guidance of men such as Jim Jones, David Koresh, Marshall Applewhite, and others.
But what about you? Do you believe that Jesus sent a spirit guide, a real helper, to lead us? Do you truly believe in the existence, the wisdom and the power of the Spirit of Truth? Or have you lapsed into the belief that the ‘age of miracles’ has passed, and toil under the misconception that God no longer deals with man through spiritual or angelic aid? If so, you have no hope of finding and living the truth, or being truly free. As Paul wrote:
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:17 (RSV)
Keep in mind, however, that the freedom given by means of truth is not absolute. It is contingent upon justice, intelligence, maturity and fairness. The failure of man to distinguish between true freedom and false freedom, or liberty vs. license, has led to many problems. Truth gives us the freedom to serve God without fear of men. It recognizes our divine obligations to the Father and to our brothers. False freedom – license – presumes to do whatever one wants regardless of the consequences. It is unintelligent, unconditioned, and uncontrolled. True freedom is real and leads to life eternal; false freedom is illusory and leads to non-existence.
True freedom is associated with self-respect; false freedom is associated with self-admiration. True freedom leads to service to our brothers to uplift and encourage them for their ultimate benefit; false freedom leads to exploitation of others for selfish means, a rejection of righteousness for the sake of possessing unjust power over others.
False freedom is driven by the flesh and results in the works of the flesh:
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
– Galatians 5:19-21
Whereas, true freedom is led by the Spirit of Truth and result in the fruits of the spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
– Galatians 5:22-26
Those seeking truth must look beyond implied or perceived freedom for actual freedom and develop their ability “to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14) True freedom is attached to character. A spiritually free person would not think to harm another or to mislead another or to control or manipulate another. True freedom is always subject to love. God is love (1 John 4:8), thus love is supreme.
Freedom is a gift from the son:
“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.”
– John 8:35-36
The Son, Jesus Christ, believes wholeheartedly in freedom. One of his greatest demonstrations of love is extending the gift of freedom to mankind. It is a testament to the confidence and love he has in his creation, thereby conquering without compulsion. The Son sets us free by making us sons – faith sons by adoption – so that we become those who can ‘remain in the house forever!’