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April 3, 2012

Who doesn’t want to be free? In the United States we seem almost obsessed with freedom. We celebrate our national freedom every July 4th. We remember civil rights and the freedoms extended to minorities every Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We act out women’s liberation every time we vote in November. My initial question might seem rudimentary in light of all of these distinct acts of commending freedom, yet I would say that NO ONE wants to be free. No one seeks freedom – TRUE FREEDOM.

Wow…I almost can’t believe I wrote those last two sentences. My thoughts have a way of evolving as I write, yet I know what I wrote is true. In Psalms 14:1-3, the Psalmist says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’. They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from Heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand God, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even on.” No one seeks God. No one seeks freedom. How depressing?

You might be wondering why I am equating God and freedom. How do they connect? Jesus tell His disciples in John 14:6 , “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Again, I know you are probably thinking, “connection?” Jesus calls Himself the TRUTH. There aren’t many people who do define themselves as truth. There aren’t many people who are killed for doing this either. Yet Jesus calls Himself the truth and is willing to die for this label. Why? It is so we can be free.

In the gospel of John chapter 8, when the Jewish people questioned Jesus, demanding that He explain to them who He was, Jesus explains to them that He is not of this world. The Jewish leaders prod more and more, yet all of their questions draw people to Jesus. Jesus tells his disciples in John 8:31-32, “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH will set you FREE.”

Knowing God (made possible only through Jesus) = TRUE FREEDOM

The Jewish people worshiped God, obeyed His law, observed His ways, yet they did not KNOW God. They did not know FREEDOM. The Jewish people were always indebted to God. He saved them from Egypt; they made an idol and worshiped it. He gave them food; they complained and disobeyed instructions regarding food. He gave them the law; they did what they wanted.

Have you ever tried to have a relationship with someone to whom you were indebted? It is not easy. There is always this unspoken sense of unfinished business. No depth can be achieved in that relationship until there is equality, freedom from whatever is driving the stake between the two people. Usually when you owe someone something, you steer clear of that person until you can pay them back. (Maybe this isn’t true for you, but it is for me).

For the Jewish people – for people of all time – we have not sought God because we OWE HIM something, something we can NEVER REPAY. We OWE God PERFECTION. That is why no one seeks God like the Psalmist said. That is why, even if we don’t believe there is a God, the idea of relating to God seems ridiculous. Why would a perfect God want to have a relationship with me?

Yet God does want a relationship with us. In an act of infinite faithfulness, the God of the Universe – Jesus – came to Earth. Jesus pursued humanity and came to give us FREEDOM.

Jesus paid God the debt we owed. Jesus gave His life so that all could live in His PERFECTION. Standing in perfection, without debt, before God – this is TRUE FREEDOM.

Why is this TRUE FREEDOM? We were created to have a relationship with God, something we destroyed the moment we stopped being perfect. If we are not doing what we were intended to do, we are not free; we are slaves to whatever keeps us from fulfilling our intended purpose. Our intended purpose is to know God and be known by Him.

The people to whom Paul was addressing in the book of Acts understood this idea. They wanted Paul to come back and preach the same message of freedom over and over again. THIS IS GOOD NEWS! We don’t owe God anything. We can now know God – the One who created ALL things and holds ALL things together. This is FREEDOM.

  1. Do you get excited about this freedom?
  2. Why would you want to hear these truths over and over again?
  3. How does freedom from sin impact the way you live your life?
  4.  How do you relate to God differently?
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