Freedom! How Are You Using It?

By: Joseph H. Murray

   Being free can be a liability or an asset – depending upon how we use our freedom. Being “as free,...not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).

   Being free brings us into bondage or under obligation to be of service to Him from whom to us our freedom was given. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

   Our freedom is attained through an acquaintance with the Lord by our introduction to Him by a spiritual birth, of which Paul wrote, “I would not have you [without this information].” He gave it to us in these words: “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (1 Cor. 12:1–3).

   Flesh and blood relations cannot introduce us to the Lord. We have to have that revelation come to us from the Father in Heaven, even as it was revealed to Peter in Matthew 16:17 when Jesus said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

   “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31–32). Jesus said this to those Jews which believed on Him. These Jews did not have to believe on Jesus to become free. They had to believe on Him to remain free. They were already God’s people.

   There is a difference in Jesus dealing with the Jews than that of Paul dealing with the Gentiles. Jesus was sent to the Jewish nation, that is, the circumcised, and Paul was a minister to the uncircumcised Gentiles.

   Gentiles have their introduction to Jesus from the Father in heaven by the Holy Ghost coming into our hearts and His testimony crying “Abba Father,” whereas God witnessed to the Jews through a personal visitation of Jesus to earth and leaving them a commandment to tarry in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.

   “He came unto His own, and His own [Jews] received Him not. [Not all, but most.] But as many [Jews] as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11–13).

   No Gentiles were at Pentecost to receive that power spoken of here by John; all were Jews. Jesus was speaking to Jews before He was taken up into heaven in Acts chapter 1:4–8: “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they [the Jews] therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? [Note: they were as unmindful of what God was about to do as the people were when they were asking Samuel to give them their first king, Saul by name.] And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

   This is not the only time the Jews desired to have Jesus their King. After having fed the multitude with the lad’s five barley loaves and two small fishes, they said, “This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone” (John 6:14–15).

   Jesus was very careful as to who would worship Him as a king; He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a mule and was honored and praised by the multitudes. “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple; and He healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto Him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” (Matt. 21:12–16).

   Praises coming from a heart that has had a touch of God’s Spirit is always accepted with God, and none else. That’s why Jesus made this statement in Matthew 18:3–4: “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

   Being born of a natural mother only sets a child free of the mother’s womb, but it does not set it free from all the perils of its future life. Neither does the baptism of the Holy Ghost set us free from the perils that we must face in our spiritual life.

   We have to study to show ourselves approved of God after we are freed from the womb of the church.

   Then, we Gentiles, as well as the Jews, are instructed in the Scripture of the words of Jesus when He said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31).

   Jesus speaking of us being like children does not mean that only children will be accepted of Him, but that we grown–ups must become meek and childlike in our nature.

   Paul writing concerning unknown tongues and understanding did not say that those that did not speak in unknown tongues were the ones who had all the understanding but, rather, that men of understanding are the ones who have humbled themselves as the child to enter the kingdom, and it is witnessed by the Spirit speaking through them in unknown tongues. He said, “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. [And understand this:] In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe” (1 Cor. 14:20–22). After all, Paul was an authority on the subject of speaking in unknown tongues, for he had already said, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (Verse 18).

   When we become childlike in malice, we have attained to the attitude of freedom where we rightfully have to be to qualify as candidates for eternal life and to “put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God” (1 Peter 2:15–16).


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