True Freedom in Jesus

John 8: 31-42
Dan 3:14-20,91-92,95 / Dan 3:52-56

If you abide by my word, you are truly my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:31-32)

Once in the darkness, we had been
Blind to the Truth, now we can see;
Why remain in the chains of sin
When the Word of God sets us free?

Jesus said, “If you abide by my word, you are truly my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But they replied, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be set free”?’ So Jesus explained to them, “Amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.’

They answered him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.’ They said to him, ‘We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.” (John 8:31-42)

Reflection

The Jews thought Jesus was talking about political freedom, liberation from the Romans, as Israel then was under the dominion of Rome. But Jesus was speaking of spiritual freedom, the freedom from sin and alienation from God. Much like the error of the Jews in Jesus’ time, many people today think freedom means being independent, possessing the power of choice to do whatever they wish to do as they please. This is certainly not the kind of freedom that Jesus was talking about, because this freedom only leads us away from the truth. What our Lord is teaching us in today’s Gospel is the freedom from the bondage of sin, from which only the truth in the Gospel can liberate us. Jesus is teaching us that if we abide by His Word, the Holy Spirit will empower and guide us to live our lives according to God’s will.

The license to disobey the decrees of God and His Church for our own pleasure or selfish gain is a delusion, because we are actually enslaved by Satan when we are in the state of sin. There can never be peace of mind in such bondage. It is like saying “I am free to take drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, because I have freedom of choice.” Where is freedom when you become addicted to these harmful substances? Where is freedom when you cannot stop taking them even when you know they can only lead to your own destruction? Sinful acts are no different, because ultimately, if we do not reconcile ourselves to our Lord Jesus, we will have to pay the price for them.

Let us not fool ourselves that we can pursue the world’s pleasures and remain in God’s Word at the same time. For “no man can serve two masters.” In this season of Lent, let us spend more time reading God’s Word in the Bible, rather than indulging in worldly activities that only distract us from our true purpose in life.

Thank you, Jesus, for Your Word, which has freed us from the bondage of sin and ignorance, and has become the sword and armor in our lives. Amen.

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