March 30, 2015

Finding Freedom

John 8:31-32

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

—  John 8:31-32

Taking a Bible verse out of context can lead to misunderstanding and may even prove perilous to spiritual health. John 8:32 is one of Jesus' most misunderstood and misapplied statements. People often misuse this as a justification for telling you a painful truth you already know about yourself. But that just hurts without helping.

So let's look at this in its context. Jesus has stated plainly that he is the Messiah. He has been preaching, teaching, and miracle-making to proclaim, instruct, and demonstrate the kingdom of God for three years. He has declared that if anyone believes, they will be freed to live with God now and forever. That's the truth.

We've been spending Lent with Christ as our discipler, mentor, and trainer in the faith. We've learned how to live each day as disciples through Scripture study, prayer, meditation, ser­­vice, and worship. We've learned that Christ is our liberator, not only by the way of the cross but also as we intentionally live each day with him. All this and more make up the truth that sets us free.

Have we found the freedom Christ has promised? If so, the only question remaining is, Will we live liberated lives for our Savior?

Lord Christ, you bring us the truth that liberates—the truth of the kingdom of God. And you are Lord of that kingdom. Give us daily faith to follow in your truth. Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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