True Freedom

It is quite astonishing that when Jesus spoke about true freedom, he said it in the context of his own submission to the Father:

“So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:28-32, ESV)
[1]
[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001.

When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him…If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:28-29, 31-32, ESV) .

Commenting on the practical implication of this passage regarding our relationship with God, Bruce A. Ware (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles and Relevance, p. 75) wrote:

Directly following these statements of Jesus’ absolute obedience to the Father, that he never spoke anything by his own initiative and always and only did what was pleasing to the Father, Jesus has the audacity (or so it would appear!) to instruct on the subject of freedom! Abide in his words, he told those who believed in him, and they would become disciples of his, and they would know the truth, and the truth would set them free. Live as Jesus has lived before the Father, abiding in his truth and speaking only what the Father has taught them, and they will be like Jesus, knowing the truth and entering into true freedom. It appears, then, that we need to learn something about the nature of true freedom. Freedom is not what our culture tells us it is. Freedom is not my deciding, from the urges and longings of my sinful nature, to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, how I want to do it, with whom I want to do it. According to the Bible, that is bondage, not freedom. Rather, true freedom is living as Jesus lived, for he is the freest human being who ever lived. In fact, he is the only fully free human being who has ever lived, and one day we will be set free fully when we always and only do the will of God. So, what is freedom? Amazingly, Jesus’ answer is this: Freedom is submitting – submitting fully to the will of God, to the words of God, and to the work that God calls us to do.

The question is not, “Do you want to be free?” (Of course, we do!) But the question is, “Do you have true freedom?” If “true freedom” refers to “human life lived at its best, or to the kind of human living that brings the greatest joy and satisfaction” (p. 160), do you have it with you now? I am not talking about how much money you have, or the kind of job or family or friends you have, or the amount of independence you have to do the things you want to do. Rather, I am asking if your will is fully surrendered to the will of God. Is Jesus now ruling in your heart as Lord? If not, you are just daydreaming about the freedom you have, but in reality, do not have. If he is, then you belong to the company of the freest people in the world, the only free people in the world – the followers of Jesus.

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