“Free” From What?

by Lester Young

“…And you’ll know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).

That’s a familiar verse. The Lord Jesus spoke those words during a debate that broke out during one of His temple teaching sessions. Well, it actually wasn’t much of a debate at all: as was the usual outcome, He basically ran circles around those who got offended enough to verbally challenge Him. But at that particular moment, Jesus was directing those words to a very select group of people in the audience. He was addressing the folks who had just then decided to believe He really was the long-awaited Messiah:

“…I do [and say] nothing of Myself; but as My Father has taught [told, revealed to] Me, [those are the things] I speak. And He that sent Me is with Me: the Father has not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” As He spoke these words, many believed on Him. Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on Him, “If you continue in My word [that is, Jesus’ teachings – which, as He just said, would come directly from His Father], then you are My disciples indeed; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free [– just as free as it’s made Me].” (John 8:28-32 paraphrased)

I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty clear to me that Jesus was as “free” as it gets. He never obeyed sin, so sin was never able to exercise any authority over Him (until, of course, His planned Mission on the Cross). He never yielded to sin – and it’s intuitively understood that you automatically become a servant to whom- or whatever you yield yourself to in obedience (Romans 6:14, 16; 2 Peter 2:19).

Sin’s a merciless slave-driver. But Jesus never gave it a chance to get a foothold, so it never had the opportunity to produce any of its destructive effects – its fruits, if you will – in His life (Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Galatians 5:19-21). Jesus was free from sickness: He was strong and healthy, and He always went around ministering healing (Luke 2:40, 52; Matthew 10:7-8; Luke 9:2, 10:8-9; Acts 10:38). He was totally free of fear because He always did what pleased His Father, so He knew He was always protected. Consequently, He ministered peace and comfort wherever He went (Matthew 26:53; John 8:29, 14:16-18, 27; 15:10; 1 John 4:18). And He was completely free from poverty and lack, too. No, Jesus wasn’t poor: you can’t have nothing and still give so habitually that everybody just naturally thinks that’s what you’re doing when you send Judas out from the Passover meal (John13:29). Jesus was absolutely free from sin and therefore absolutely free from the curse of the Law and all its effects, whether spiritual or physical – because if you haven’t done anything to break the Law and put yourself under the curse’s power, there’s nothing left to be operating in except the Blessing (Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Galatians 3:14, 16). It really is an ‘either/or’ thing.

Many of us have at least a fair grasp of those ‘freedoms’ – even though we may not be walking in them as fully as Jesus did – because we’ve continually heard them preached about, as well they should be (Romans 10:17). But there’s another freedom we’ve been graced with that hasn’t gotten nearly as much pub as those “regular” ones. We see it when Jesus – on two separate occasions – feeds upwards of fifteen thousand hungry people with literally no more than a couple of fish sandwiches (Matthew 14:15-21, 15:32-38). We see it when a huge storm arises on the sea and it’s basically ordered to sit down and shut up – and it does (Mark 4:37-39). We see it in the form of a man dead four days getting up and walking out of his tomb – simply because he’s commanded to do so (John 11:39-44). And we see it when Jesus and Peter (yes, we tend to overlook that it was both of them) take an early-morning stroll on the surface of a large body of water (Matthew 14:25-29).

This widely-overlooked ‘freedom’ I’m speaking of is commonly known, of course, as the “miraculous”. Did you know we have the same right (and therefore we should also have the same expectation) to walk in the ‘miraculous’ – the manifested supernatural power of God – as Jesus did? You see, we’ve not only been freed from the curse of the Law, we’ve also been freed from the ‘rudiments’ of the world (Galatians 4:3-5, 9; Colossians 2:20). And what are those? Put simply, they’re the basic elementary principles by which this current world operates.

Let’s take wine as an example. Now, basic physical laws and processes make it necessary to wait a significant period of time for the fermentation process to complete its work and transform grape juice into wine. And pure water isn’t ever going to ferment into anything except stale water. Yet within moments from start to finish, Jesus changed water – at the molecular level – into wine. I reiterate, it did not become wine-flavored water. The elemental constituents of water were overridden and changed into completely different elemental constituents, making that liquid authentic wine – and not the $3-per-bottle stuff, either (John 2:6-11).

Furthermore, basic physical laws state that it’s impossible for anything as heavy as a human to walk on the surface of water – unless, of course, that water happens to be in the form of a thick sheet of ice. But Jesus – and Peter – broke those laws by walking on the surface of regular-temperature, liquid water! (Matthew 14:25-29)

And while we’re at it, physical laws also leave no room for the possibility of teleportation without the aid of a beaming pad and some warp engines. So unless you’ve got the Starship Enterprise in your basement and Crewman Jones running the controls, you’re not going to dematerialize from where you are and immediately rematerialize in Santa Monica. Yet Philip, immediately after baptizing a man, just up and disappeared right before the guy’s eyes and reappeared someplace else (Acts 8:38-40). And what’s really amazing is that Philip didn’t even seem particularly surprised – he just gathered himself and started preaching in all the cities around where he’d been transported to. (…wouldn’t have though they had Valium back then.)

As fantastic as it may sound, we really have been redeemed from the physical laws and normal orderly progressions of this natural world. Now that doesn’t mean we can just bat our eyes or twitch our noses and things will always change immediately. I’m not talking about “magic” here. What I am talking about is the Anointing – the Anointing of God. It should come as no great surprise that God is not bound to the natural orderings of this world. And the Anointing of God on the flesh of man simply means that we aren’t bound to or limited by to them, either.

Mind you, Jesus still walked pretty much wherever He went. His feet still got dirty. He still got tired (John 4:6). Even though He wasn’t limited by this world’s natural laws and arrangements, He still had to operate in them. So do we. But we can do so with the knowledge that we have a tremendous advantage that the rest of the world cannot grasp, and can only wonder at. We don’t have to simply ‘put up’ with an indisputable subjection to the “natural order of things”. Just like Jesus, we have access to a higher level of getting things done (Isaiah 55:7-9). We’re not bound to natural laws: we have the right and privilege to operate in the ‘miraculous’ whenever God needs us to.

“…And you’ll know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). What you and I must do now is come to the knowledge that we’ve been living our Christian lives unnecessarily bounded by the limits of this natural world. We need to remember that all things – and ‘all’ means all – are possible with God and with him who believes God (Mark 9:23, 10:27; Luke 1:37). Because if we don’t learn to even recognize we’re needlessly being bound – in whatever form that bondage takes – we’ll never be able to truly realize our freedom from it.

Though this utterly amazing ‘freedom’ hasn’t been spoken of much in the past, I thank God that His men and women are now beginning to preach it more and more. And the more it’s preached, the more of the ‘miraculous’ we’re going to see show up – because “faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (John 14:21; Romans 10:17). Rest assured, you’re going to hear about it more and more here, too.

Keep this in mind, though: Supernatural occurrences don’t always have to be of the ‘spectacular’ variety – in fact, they typically aren’t. But that’s a subject for another time…

 

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