These are very famous words of Jesus Christ. They have been spoken in Christian and secular circles for millennia. “If you 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).
But free from what? Free from stress? Free from debt? Free from worry? Free from a bad work place? Free from what?
Christ was speaking to those who believed on Him (v. 31). The Pharisees overheard His words. They, of course, were looking after the flesh, thinking that Christ was referring to physical slavery. “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man,” they indignantly responded. How are you going to make us free? they asked.
And with those words, soaked in that attitude, they revealed who they really were. They were offspring of Abraham, all right, for he was the father of many nations: nations from his son Ishmael by Hagar, and nations by his sons through Keturah, and nations by his grandsons Jacob and Esau.
If the Pharisees counted their lineage from Jacob/Israel, then they would have surely known that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt for 400 years until the time of Moses. The Holy Bible is after all Israel’s story. Yet, they told Christ that they had never been in bondage.
Because of this confession, they could not be Jacob/Israel’s descendants. But they could be descended from Esau who was known as Edom. The Edomites were converted to Judaism in 125 B.C. under John Hyrcanus’ reign [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edom ]. And Esau/Edom assumed the seats of power in Jerusalem, parading around as the chosen people during the next 150 years.
Later in their conversation, Christ would tell these imposters that they were of their “father the devil [who] abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him; he is a liar and the father of it” (8: 44). The devil then is the father of those Pharisees, “which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2: 9).
So What Slavery Are We Talking About?
Christ was talking to those who believed on Him about the truth making us free. Free from what? Christ clears that up in that same passage. “Whosoever commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8: 34 NKJV). If you sin, then you are a slave, bound in chains to sin. Sin is the master of one who sins. Sin has him in bondage. And the truth will free you from that slavery. The Savior was named Yahshua in Hebrew because “he shall save His people from their sins.”
And yet, most Christians will readily say that they still sin. Some will almost proudly declare their propensity to sin saying, “I am a sinner saved by grace; I sin every day!”
Is that, really, the confession God wants to hear from our lips? Especially when the Spirit speaks and says, “He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin” (I John 3: 5).
“In Him”–Exploring the Phrase
“In Him is no sin.” How can five simple words be so powerful as to cause the reader to examine the very core of their new existence in God?
“In Him.” In Christ. Brothers and sisters, if God is our Father, then God “has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1: 4). Chosen us! We are the elect that He and His apostles speak of all the time. For at the “fulness of times,” God will “gather together in one all things in Christ, even in Him” (1: 10).
It is already done. God has already picked us out of all the human beings on the planet; it is His doing, His choosing, and His electing us–“elect” and “chosen” being translated from the same Greek word. It is God’s plan, and it is already done in His heart and mind. So if we purport to be in Christ, then we simply must get serious about the sin question. We must get this straightened out.
Straightening It Out
Christ has said very plainly that “whosoever commits sin is the slave of sin.” Period. Sin is his slave master. Sin says, Do this, and the slave obeys.
However, “in Him is no sin.” So, because of a lack of teaching on getting rid of the old sinful nature, the Christian is in an existential dilemma. He has been taught just the opposite of what the scriptures say about sin.
He is taught that remorse for past sins equals repentance from sin and that baptism is necessary to join the church. He is not taught that feeling sorry for past sins merely leads us to repentance. Repentance from sins that bring death comes at the cross when our old sinful nature dies with Christ, who was the sacrifice for all of our sins. Christ died; we died. Christ was buried; we were buried. Christ was raised from the dead; we were raised up with Him to walk in “newness of life.”
It is this belief in Christ that lands us in Christ! The death of our sinful nature, the burying of all the guilt and recriminations of our sinful past, and the belief in His word of promise that we now have received a new nature, a new Spirit, a new direction, a new purpose, a new vision through belief that He is raised up in us–it is believing all this that puts us in Him and He in us. Halleluyah! Praise Yah!
Now We Are Free!
Believing all this brings us into Him and in Him. Now, we are free–made free by the Spirit of God that Christ has given us. Free from the slave master Sin. Free! For God has “purged our consciences from dead works to serve the living God.” No more guilty consciences for faults and shortcomings. For God has restored us back into His heart. He knows that our condition is weakness. Yet through His great love and mercy, He has seen fit to impute righteousness unto us. For us believing what the Son of God has done for us, the Father counts us right with Him, righteous in His eyes, on the right side of His ledger. It is God’s gift to us through His great mercy and love, and it is without repentance.
Why does God reckon us righteous? Because we just flat believe Him and what He says He has done for us and His people! Now 1 John 3: 9 makes sense. Read it for yourself. You are free now. For it is all Him, and we are in Him. And we have been in Him since before He founded the worlds. Kenneth Wayne Hancock