We have covered four underpinnings of Biblical freedom as Jesus taught it.
I. Freedom is not total autonomy. “…hold to my teaching…” John 8:31
II. Freedom requires virtue as its guiding principle. “You shall know the truth…” John 8:32
III. Freedom requires obedience to Divine authority structures. “You are…my disciples…” John 8:32
IV. Freedom is liberation from sin. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Now in the last few posts let’s look at the fifth underpinning of our freedom.
V. Freedom is doing the will of God.
“The truth shall set you free.” John 8:31
Mere “human happiness” is no substitute for fulfilling God’s intended purpose for our lives.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with these most-frequently memorized of its words-
Q.1 What is the chief end of man?
A.1 The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. (see WSC below)
In the early nineteenth century a person was considered illiterate if he had not memorized the entire Westminster Shorter Catechism. In fact, one would find it impossible to matriculate at most state-operated colleges in the South without having previously memorized it.
However, we in the modern world no longer memorize Catechisms. We are beyond that. At least, we think we are. What we have lost in the modern world is an adequate motive for living. Catechisms in the past supplied our forefathers with a Biblical motive for living.
In the modern world we prefer our own “scripture” to God’s. We have reduced all of life to the one phrase of the Declaration of Independence (called “American Scripture” by one author recently): the individual’s right “to the pursuit of happiness.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne says this about happiness—
Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it.
(See Hawthorne below)
How do we achieve happiness in this life if we cannot set it as our goal?
A Scottish lady, in her diary, relates how she was seized with a fever which threatened her life, ‘during the course of [the fever],’ she says, ‘the first question of the Assembly’s Catechism was brought to my mind
“What is the chief end of man?” as if some one had asked it.
When I considered the answer to it—“To glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever”—
I was struck with shame and confusion. I found I had never sought to glorify God in my life, nor had I any idea of what was meant by enjoying Him for ever. Death and judgment were set before me; my past sins came to my remembrance; I saw no way to escape the punishment due unto them, nor had I the least glimmering hope of obtaining the pardon of them through the righteousness of another.’
From this unhappy state she was shortly after delivered, by believing on the Lord Jesus as the only Savior of the guilty. (see Whitecross below)
Like this lady, we have found freedom from guilt and shame in becoming a believer in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Doing Jesus’s will as his disciple is liberating.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. (1875). Passages from the American Notebooks. Boston, MA: J. R. Osgood and Company, p. 191.
Whitecross, John. (1968 reprint Banner of Truth Trust). Retrieved 3 December 2018 from http://www.shortercatechism.com/resources/whitecross/wsc_wh_001.html
WSC. Retrieved 3 December 2018 from http://www.shortercatechism.com/resources/wsc/wsc_001.html
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