October 6, 2015
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
John 8:32 is one of the most often quoted, out of context verse, in all of the New Testament. It is right up there with, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” from Genesis 4:9 in the Old Testament.
Our inclination is to quote verse 32 without the context of verse 31. Take the time to read it again, “31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Did you catch the context? Jesus does indeed make the promise, “The truth will set you free.” But in context, that promise contains a caveat or qualification. Jesus promises the believing Jews, “You will really be my disciples,” and “You will now the truth and the truth will set you free” – “IF you hold to my teaching.”
The truth will only set at liberty those who hold to the teachings of Jesus. In other words, this passage is instructing those who believe, very simply, that if they will obey His teaching then they will know, uncover, discover, the truth and the truth will set them free. In short, there is freedom for those who hear and obey, there is no freedom for those who will not hear and who will not obey!
It is election month. On October 19th, Canadians, from every Province and Territory, will go to the polls and elect the Government that will rule for the next four years or less. Regardless of who wins at the polls, at the end of the day on October 19th, Canada will still be in need of a new government. Why?
What Canada needs (and the whole world for that matter) is new government. Self-Government! What do I mean by Self-Government? Well, what I don’t mean is a return to the days of ancient Israel where, “Every man did as he saw fit in his own eyes.” That is not Self-Government – that is No-Government, and that leads to anarchy. What I mean by Self-Government is that we become a people for whom the external law has been internalized, a people for whom personal ownership, self-discipline and self-denial direct their lives in ways external forces never could.
People, who are self-governed are people, who have internalized the truth of Christ, and who have been set free… free from the tyranny of self-indulgence. It is almost unconscionable to declare that one should deny oneself in our permissive culture, but the truth is that freedom is not doing whatever one pleases, but rather freedom is the ability to refrain from doing what one pleases, and instead, do what is “right!”
In fact, you can measure the “freedom” of a nation by how many laws are required to deal with rebellion. The more eternal laws a nation requires, the further from “freedom” it has traveled.
Yes indeed, we need new government in Canada. We need Self-Government.