BY: RUSSELL MCLAUGHLIN
Normally, high atop the United States Capitol dome in Washington stands the statue of the stately “Freedom Lady”, almost 20 feet high. She is from time to time taken down for repainting and repair. A crest of stars frames her face. A shield of stars and stripes is in her left hand.
The sculptured Freedom Lady was brought from Rome during a fierce storm and the captain ordered some cargo thrown overboard. The sailors wanted to include the heavy statue, but the captain refused and shouting above the wind said, “No! Never!” We’ll flounder before we throw ‘Freedom’ away.”
Freedom is something that is dear and precious to each of us. Each year, we celebrate Memorial Day and Independence Day. At those times we all recognize the value of freedom. Freedom is also important to us in the spiritual realm. It is stated in John 8:31-32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you abide in My word, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Freedom comes from truth, and truth comes from continuing in the words of Christ.
A person abides or remains in the word of Christ by making it the rule for one’s life. Obedience is the same thing as abiding in the word. It is not enough just to accept the word; one must be obedient. By abiding in the word, men will come to know the truth, truth that gives freedom. This truth is not abstract speculation, but living and personal. Intellectually it is knowledge of the truth: morally it is obedience. Jesus gives freedom from sin, which comes through being his disciple (Matthew 28: 18-19) and knowing the truth. The truth that gives freedom is Jesus himself (John 14:6)
False belief holds the minds of humans in bondage; truth frees them. The Jews believed they were free. They were Abraham’s freeborn descendants and had never been held in slavery. They had been kept in bondage temporarily in Egypt and Babylon, but they were not slaves. However, Jesus reminds them that there is slavery other than social or economic bondage. Sin is a slave-master, and one can be slave to sin unconsciously. The teaching here can be compared to that of Paul (Romans 6: 12-23). Christ came to set men free with freedom that was genuine (John 8:36, Galatians 5:1). Let’s remember Paul’s words in Galatians 5:13, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
The challenge for all of us is to continually study and obey the words of our Lord to obtain true freedom and not throw it away.