Today’s Reading: John 8:31-59 (additional reading: Psalm 112:1-10 & Proverbs 15:12-14)

On August 28, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before a crowd around a quarter of a million people. That day King delivered his infamous speech “I Have a Dream.” He concluded that message with these timeless words: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

Regardless of whom you are or what difficulties you may encounter along the journey of life, we can be free from the entanglements of life that weigh us down; free from the burdens and cares that make our hearts heavy. Oh to be free!  Free at last!

John 8:31-32 (NIV) says “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.”

Simply believing is not enough! Jesus shows us here that it takes more than just believing in Him to be free. Belief is a necessary step, but belief is only the first step toward being free. Jesus knew that many listening to His teaching had taken that all important first step of belief. That why Jesus says to those who believe (which includes each of us today) that we must believe and also “hold to my teaching.” What is Jesus saying? “If you stick with this.” (MsgB), “If you keep obeying my teaching.” (NLT) and “If you live by what I say.” (GW).

Jesus has shown us that freedom only comes to those who remain in His word. Freedom is given to those who learn to live out what He has taught us, to abide in Him.

It’s like a guitar string. A string on a guitar can be set free. It can be released from the guitar, the tension is gone and it is free. But a guitar string cannot fulfil its purpose when it is independent and free from the guitar. That only happens when it’s strung down the long neck of a guitar and tightened until it is taut. Freedom comes, not in being separated from everything (or everyone). Real freedom comes by being joined together in Christ. That’s when we are set apart like a guitar string to fulfil God’s purposes in our lives. Freedom in God’s world never comes apart from structure. When one is free to live as God intended, he is truly free indeed.

Sinclair B. Ferguson: Freedom is not only the principle in the Christian life. Freedom is for something. God has set us free for holiness. He has set us free from the guilt and bondage of sin – but not in order that we might become enslaved to the very sins for which Christ died to redeem us!… No action which is contrary to the plain Word of God can ever be legitimate for the Christian. No appeal to spiritual freedom or to providential circumstances can ever make what is ethically wrong anything else but sinful. For the Christian is free only to love and obey the law of God. Therein lies his true freedom.

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