|FMH Children’s Club International
–– A Company Of Prophets ––
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, that’s the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
3 May, 2009
Would you believe (?) it’s been more than 6 months since the writing of our last sermonet – “Nation Against Nation, And Earthquakes In Divers Places! ” Time really flies when you’re working for the Lord! And just in case you’re wondering, one of the many things that’s kept me so busy is answering Lisa’s fan mail. I mean it was her letter of correction to Ernie Knoll – “Misusing God’s Dreams ‘4HisPeople.com’” – that stirred up the “spirit of legalism” in quite a few Seventh-Day Adventist. Talk about upsetting their belief system! Lisa’s letter did it!
Now, seeing how it has become abundantly obvious that many professing Christians are putting their faith in “the law” that will not save them, it’s time to write a sermonet on “the law” that will save them. In fact the title of today’s message is “The Law Of Liberty Can Set You Free!” And as the Good Lord has shown me, the following Scripture is the definition of “the law of liberty” in a very simple and pure form:
“…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.” (John 8:31-32 KJV)
That is God’s “law of liberty”! Now please allow me to explain how it works:
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:21-24 KJV)
In the preceding Scripture, Jesus announced His imminent suffering and death on the cross. The time was near for Jesus to fulfill God’s 4000 year old promise of “The Messiah” (Genesis 3:15) who would take away the sin of the world so that all who trust in Him might be saved from the everlasting fiery torments of Hell.
What an awesome time in the history of mankind! But yet Peter rebuked Jesus for His words: “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”
And then Jesus rebuked Peter for speaking that LIE of THE DEVIL: “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
In fact Jesus made it abundantly clear that not only must He suffer, but each and every person who puts their trust in Him must suffer as well: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
“Suffering” is a necessary ingredient in becoming one with Jesus:
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution…But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (2Ti 3:12; 1Pe 4:13 KJV)
“Suffering” is an absolute necessity for Christians, howbeit, “suffering” is not what most would choose to do. And, of course, that is the reason Jesus had to be emphatically dogmatic about it:
“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” (John 12:25 KJV)
The word “lose” in John 12:25 was translated from the Greek word “apolluni”, which, according to the Strong’s Greek Dictionary, means “to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: - destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.”
And with that in mind, the following is a proper interpretation of John 12:25:
“He that loveth his life more than the will of God shall lose it eternally; and he that hateth his life in comparison of the will of God shall preserve it.” (John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes)
The Holy Bible – the Word of God – plainly states that we must die to what we want (our will) in order to do what He wants (God’s Will), and this entire process of “suffering” through the “denial of self” in “obedience to God” is described as “taking up the cross”. “Our cross” is “the cross” that we must all bear.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain…Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Galatians 2:20-21; Romans 6:4-7 KJV)
Now with that in mind – “For he that is dead [crucified in Christ] is freed from sin” – let’s start off our discussion on “the law of liberty” by addressing the issue of “the law”:
“…if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain…If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law… For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” (Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 7:11-19 KJV)
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” (Romans 3:20-22 KJV)
“But now we are delivered (G2673) from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter…Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 7:6; 6:4 KJV)
Now those are just a few of the powerful Scriptures that deal with “the law”. And, in brief, this is what they said:
“…if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain…For the law made nothing perfect…But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…we are delivered (G2673) from the law…that we should serve in newness of spirit... even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
The Greek word katergeo, from which “delivered” (G2673) was translated in Romans 7:6, carries the meaning that this “deliverance from the law” is due to the fact that the law has been made of “no use” (void – no longer fruitful) for the true Believer who’s “born of His Spirit” (newness of spirit and newness of life)…for by “the law” is the knowledge of sin:
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not…For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace…Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (John 3:3; 1 John 5:18; Romans 6:14; 3:24 KJV)
The Spirit of God (the Living Word - the Comforter) indwells all who trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. And it’s through this indwelling of the Spirit that the Believer has the power to become “born again” and “sin no more”. This, in brief, is the “law of liberty” that makes the Believer “free from sin” so that “the law” (the knowledge of sin) is of no further use:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:50; John 3:5, 6; Matthew 7:21 KJV)
So, with that in mind, it should become abundantly apparent that the “law of liberty” has everything to do with the Believer being “set free from sin” as they “enter God’s kingdom” by doing the “Will of the Father” and becoming “born of His Spirit”.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free (G1659) from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4 KJV)
Free (G1659) [eleutheroo] - From G1658; to liberate, that is, (figuratively) to exempt (from moral, ceremonial or mortal liability): - deliver, make free. (Strong’s Greek Dictionary)
The “law of liberty” liberates the Believer from the power of sin. In fact we find this same liberating “free” word in our original “pure and simple” text on the “law of liberty”:
“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 (G1659).” (John 8:31-32 KJV)
So are you starting to get the picture? We are set free from the law by His Word…that we should serve in newness of spirit... even so we also should walk in newness of life:
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 KJV)
It’s God’s “speaking Word” that sets the Believer free from “sin and death”! In fact here’s what A.W. Tozer has to say about it:
“The Voice of God is the most powerful force in nature, indeed the only force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled Word is being spoken. The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. 'The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.' The life is in the speaking words. God's word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God's word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book…This universal Voice of God was by the ancient Hebrews often called Wisdom, and was said to be everywhere sounding and searching throughout the earth, seeking some response from the sons of men.” (The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer)
Now with that in mind, let’s go to the “law of liberty” Scripture in the book of James:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways...For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty (G1657), and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:5-8, 23-25 KJV)
Liberty (G1657) [eleutheria]- From G1658; freedom (legitimate or licentious, chiefly moral or ceremonial): - liberty.
So do you see the connection between God’s “Wisdom” (speaking Word) and the “law of liberty”? It’s the “Wisdom of God” that gives the Believer God’s instructions, that, if obeyed, will set them free from the “passions and lust” of their sinful past. The sinful flesh will get “nailed to the cross” whenever God’s Wisdom is followed. And of course it’s his/her own “natural face” (i.e. sinful fleshly nature) that the Believer will see in the mirror whenever God speaks His “Wisdom”…and it’s the face of rebellion to God’s Word! The sinful flesh will fight violently to stop the crucifixion from proceeding! However, if the Believer rejects God’s Word, by walking away from the mirror and not dealing with the “natural man” that’s been exposed, the “law of liberty” will become null and void.
Obedience to God’s Wisdom is the only thing that can bring about the crucifixion of the sinful flesh. No work means no liberty!
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13 KJV)
“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:11-12 KJV)
God’s Word is His Spirit that surgically removes the Believer’s sin problem whenever obeyed. And now let’s address the second “law of liberty” Scripture from the book of James:
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” (James 2:10-14 KJV)
God means business when it comes to the Believer doing His Will by obeying His Word. Because not only will the “law of liberty” set the Believer free, but it will likewise judge (in the great hereafter) all those who don’t put their faith into practice by working out His Word:
“Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:44-50 KJV)
So, do you now understand the definition of the “law of liberty” in John 8:31-32?
“…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.”
Well, just in case there might be some confusion about the “Word of Truth” that will “set us free”, let’s end this message with a very simple illustration from the book of Luke:
“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” (Luke 18:18-24 KJV)
Now, it shouldn’t be too awful hard to see that this “rich young ruler” really wanted to make Heaven his everlasting home – “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” I mean, he was dead serious about salvation…that is until he received God’s “Word of Truth”! Because, you see, even though this “rich young ruler” was willing to obey the Ten Commandments, he wasn’t willing to obey that one commandment from the Almighty that would have truly “set him free” – “sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and come, follow me.”
So you see there are two different types of “commandments” that we can receive from God, but only one of them will bring us into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
The “law” which contains the “Ten Commandments” will not save anybody:
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” (Galatians 3:19 KJV)
The “law” was only intended to expose our sin and direct us to “The One” who can save us from our sin. However, the “law of liberty” that works through Christ’s “Word of Truth” will save anyone who’s willing to obey it:
“But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith…It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (Galatians 3:23-24; John 6:63 KJV)
And with that in mind, here’s an excerpt from Bob Hoekstra’s “Day-By-Day By Grace”:
-Ministry of Death versus Ministry of Life-
The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious . . . how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? (2Co_3:6-8)
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2Co_3:17)
As we have seen, the old covenant of law produces spiritual bondage in those who attempt to live under it. The great heavenly remedy for that bondage is the new covenant of grace, because it produces spiritual liberty. This liberty is a work of the Holy Spirit. "Now the Lord is the Spirit." The life-giving Lord of grace is the Spirit of God: "the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2Co_3:6).
Living by rules and regulations ("of the letter") has a deadening, binding spiritual effect on people. This is how the Pharisee's "ministered." "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders" (Mat_23:4). Jesus came to liberate people, to set them free. This is why Jesus ministered by the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed" (Luk_4:18). As Jesus, the Son of God, humbly served the Father, the Holy Spirit empowered Him to rescue captives, to release the oppressed.
Rescuing people from sin and unrighteousness is the fundamental, liberating work of Jesus. "And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Rom_6:18). Now, we are free to grow in a life of righteousness. Our newfound freedom is not for personal indulgence. It is for the serving the Lord. "As free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants of God" (1Pe_2:16). Now that we are free, we can use our freedom to lovingly minister to others. "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Gal_5:13).
Another wonder of Christ's rescuing, liberating work is that He wants to save us from self-dependent striving to develop a life of godliness and loving service. He accomplishes this by the work of the Holy Spirit. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom_8:2). As we walk in humble dependence, the Holy Spirit imparts to us the life that is in Christ Jesus. This liberates us from the tendency to rely upon fleshly human resources, which are inadequate (due to sin and spiritual deadness).
So, do you get the picture?
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:18 KJV)
It’s truly an awesome thing to be “set free” from “the law” of sin and death. But do you really want it? Are you willing to give up your life on earth in order to gain an everlasting life in Heaven?
Don’t be a fool like the “rich young ruler”. “Take up your cross daily” and “keep on keeping the faith in Jesus!”
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
“ALL FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS”
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