The Truth Will Set You Free – John 8:31-32, 24-36

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. . . .Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

One hundred and fifty years ago, brother fought against brother at the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest conflict of the Civil War.  My great-grandfather, Sgt. Curtis J. Baxter, was involved in the aftermath when his unit, the 169th Pennsylvania Infantry, was pulled from the siege blockade of Norfolk and detailed to chase after Lee’s retreating army.  I am proud that he served.

The War Between the States was fought for many reasons including political and economic factors.  But the main issue remembered most today was the cause to end slavery.

Physical freedom is important and we do well to honor those who continue to strive for it around the world.  Groups like Advocates International fight to end human trafficking wherever it may be found.

But even more crucial is spiritual freedom, which has eternal consequences.

In Romans chapters 6-8, the Apostle Paul describes our slavery to sin.  Our natural desire is to yield to seemingly attractive but harmful temptations.  Addictions plague our world – slavery to alcohol, drugs, sex, greed, gambling, pornography, and so many more.

Even though our post-modern society denies absolute standards, the violation of God’s moral principles for life has consequences.  As slaves to impurity and lawlessness, our actions lead to more lawlessness and suffering.   Romans 6:19.  In the name of ‘freedom,’ we enslave ourselves even more firmly.  The final end is death, both physical and spiritual.

How can you combat the evil nature within yourself and win true freedom?  You cannot rely on your own strength.  Again, Paul says, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.   For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”  Romans 7:14-15.  But there is hope!

On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to liberate those in physical bondage in those states fighting the Union.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus issued His own Emancipation Proclamation from the cross, when He declared “It is finished.”  He paid the price to redeem us from the slavery of sin.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”  Romans 8:1-4

Are you willing to believe this truth and accept the gift of freedom that Jesus offers to you?  If so, you can do so now.  For help, go to How to Know God Personally

If you have accepted this gift, are you still living as if you were in bondage?   Jesus tells us how to overcome through His strength.  For more information on how to have this spiritual freedom and victory, go to Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the Spirit-Filled Life?

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