by R.L. Whiteside (1869-1951)
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, 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” (Jn. 8:31-32).
People who long for freedom usually know little of what it is nor do they know how to obtain it.
An illustration or two may help us see what freedom is. A machine runs free when all parts move as the designer intended. A living thing is free when it moves unhampered in the element, or surroundings, in which God intended it to live. A fish in water, not in a net or otherwise confined, is free; for there is where God intended it to live. Out of its element, it is not free. Contrary to speculative theology, man’s natural element is righteousness. That is the element in which the creator intended that he should live and in which he is placed. He is not free anywhere else any more than a fish is free on dry land. By sin man, each man brings himself into bondage. Adam’s sin did not bring you into bondage to sin; you did that yourself. “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34).
While living in sin, men are under the most servile slavery, from which there is only one way to escape. “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). Obedience to the truth is the Lord’s way of making us free from the bondage of sin. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). But Jesus forces freedom on no one.