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A reading from John 8:31-36:
To the Jews who had believed him, 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.”
They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
When you think about freedom, what comes to your mind? Do you think about the men and women of our military who have sacrificed, some of them, their very lives for the cause of freedom? Do you think being free is the right to do what, you want, when you want, how you want? Do you think freedom is not having to be accountable or to answer to anyone including your spouse, the boss, the church, the pastor or God?
Jesus said if you hold to my teaching (my word) you will know the truth and it will set you free (John 8:31). So if you want to be free, know the teachings of Jesus and follow them. Jesus also said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
Have you ever wondered about a person who says he or she is a Christian but doesn’t hold to Jesus’ teaching or do what Jesus says to do? The person that does not hold to Jesus’ teaching is not behaving like a real disciple and they need to repent and tell Jesus how sorry they are and start doing what he has taught them to do. Now if they refuse to repent and they stay in their sin, then they are not really a disciple of Jesus Christ, because real disciples of Jesus repent when they sin and try to do what Jesus asks them to do.
God will not wink at unrepentant sin and he will not be mocked. Unrepentant sinners will reap what they sow and they will fall under the judgment of God. God does discipline his children when they rebel. Do not think for a minute that God will smile at those who willfully and intentionally break his commandments. People who intentionally and willfully sin without repenting are in grave danger of spiritual death. Faith can’t exist long in the lives of those who refuse to repent of their sins.
God’s word tells us how to live as disciples of Jesus and it is very important for us to know and to study the Bible, so that it might set us free. I encourage each of you to regularly study God’s word at home and at church. Why? The Bible is absolutely critical to our spiritual health and our eternity.