Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, 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
To abide in His Word then is the condition of being in truth Christ’s disciple. Others may be interested greatly, but they soon grow weary, or turn ere long to other objects. Christ’s disciple cleaves to His Word, and finds fresh springs in what first attracted. His Word proves itself thus divine, as it is faith which abides in it, and the truth is not only learned but known. Vagueness and uncertainty disappear, while the truth, instead of gendering bondage, like the law, makes the soul free, whatever its previous slavery. There is growth in the truth and liberty by it. Law deals with the corrupt and proud will of man to condemn it on God’s part, as is right; the truth communicates the knowledge of Himself as revealed in His Word, and thus gives life and liberty; privileges unintelligible to the natural man, who hates the sovereign grace of God as much as he exalts and loves himself, while he despises and distrusts others.—William Kelly, An Exposition of the Gospel of John (1898)
Real freedom begins at the moment of salvation. God the Father sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ into the material world to make atonement for human sin (cf. John 3:16, 17 with Rom. 5:8; I John 4:9). Every person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as their individual Savior is redeemed by the Father’s grace work of salvation (cf. John 3:15, 18, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 20:31; Acts 16:30, 31 with Eph. 2:8, 9).
At the moment of salvation, the Father immediately issued to the believer a complete salvation grace blessings package (cf. Eph. 1:3-14). Through retroactive positional truth, the Father proclaims the believer legally dead to His old life under the domination of his nature of corruption and alive to God. Retroactive positional truth means that the Father views the new believer as having been crucified with Christ (cf. Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20), as having been dead with Christ (cf. Rom. 6:8-11; Col. 3:3; I Pet. 2:24), as having been buried with Christ (cf. Rom. 6:4a; Col. 2:12), as having been raised with Christ (cf. Rom. 6:4b), Col. 3:1), as having ascended with Christ (cf. Eph. 2:6a), and as having been seated in the Heavenlies with Christ (cf. Eph. 2:6b). Therefore, every believer has a responsibility to "walk in newness of life" (cf. Eph. 2:6c).
The key to real understanding of personal freedom is for the believer to “continue” in the Word of God. At the moment of salvation, we believe the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and we are immediately saved. However, we are a baby believer; and we need spiritual nourishment to help us grow (cf. I Pet. 2:2).
Many believers never grow spiritually and therefore live their Christian life in carnality (cf. I Cor. 3:1-4). However, we are under a divine mandate to grow to spiritual maturity (cf. II Pet. 3:18). If we are to be truly free in our souls, then we must consistently be studying the Word of God (cf. John 3:31); so that we may understand Bible doctrine (cf. John 3:32a) and Bible doctrine can free us from the influence of human viewpoint, human prejudices, and demon doctrine (cf. John 3:32b). We are commanded to daily live by the Word of God (cf. Matt. 4:4; Lu. 4:4). Through the verbal plenary inspiration of the Spirit, the Father has given us the entire Canon of Scripture for our spiritual benefit (cf. II Tim. 3:16, 17). We should be studiously eager to learn how to rightly divide the Word of God (cf. II Tim. 2:15). We should seek to learn the whole counsel of God (cf. Deut. 29:29 with Acts 20:27). After all, we are called to live by faith (cf. Rom. 1:17; Hab. 2:4; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). What is the object of our faith? Faith is only as valuable as its object! We are commanded to live by faith in the Word of God (cf. Rom. 10:17) and in the integrity of God the Father (cf. Heb. 11:6). How can we have faith in the Word of God, if we do not understand it?
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.—Psalm 119:11
The Lord Jesus Christ designed every local church to be a Bible school for the teaching of the Word of God. The first local church emphasized Bible teaching on a daily basis (cf. Acts 2:42a, 5:42). Every pastor is called to teach the Word of God to his congregation so they can all be brought into spiritual maturity (cf. Eph. 4:11d-16). He is to preach the Word when his congregation is hungry for it and when his congregation doesn’t really want any in-depth teaching (cf. II Tim. 4:1-5). When he teaches Bible doctrine on a consistent basis, his congregation will be able to develop spiritual fellowship (cf. Acts 2:42b), understand and appreciate the ritual of communion (cf. Acts 2:42c), and take an active part in the prayer meeting (cf. Acts 2:42d).
Bible doctrine teaches the believer to know the directive will of the Lord (cf. Eph. 5:17), which is the same as the directive will of the Father (cf. Heb. 10:7. 9 with John 4:34; 5:19, 36). The spiritually mature believer understands the importance of being consistently filled with the Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18); and he understands that this requires him to quickly confess any personal sins (cf. I John 1:3-10). He understands that the filling of the Spirit allows him to walk in the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:16, 25); so he can be guided by the Spirit (cf. Rom. 8:14) and empowered by the Spirit (cf. Rom 14:13).
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole amour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places—Ephesians 6:10-12 KJV
Every believer has been commissioned as a soldier in Christ’s spiritual army (cf. II Tim. 2:3, 4); and we all need to be trained (cf. II Tim. 2:1, 2). The better trained the soldier is the better he is prepared for combat. We all need Bible training (cf. II Tim. 2:1, 2).
There is no truce in the invisible warfare. There is no armistice in the invisible warfare. What may appear to be only a skirmish may in reality be a major engagement. The importance of a spiritual battle is not to be measured by the number of troops engaged but by the principles involved and above all, by the exhibition of another phase of the importance of any will that is not the will of God.
There are hundreds of millions of battles being fought every day in the invisible war. The field of each battle is the heart of man.—Donald G. Barnhouse, The Invisible War (1965)
Do you understand the fact that every Christian is constantly in battle? These battles are being fought in our own souls. If we are going to think and fight under extreme pressure then we must maintain a relaxed mental attitude. We must not let the details and circumstances of life (people, places, things, and time) destroy our ability to think and act under pressure. This demands real freedom in the soul; so that we can concentrate on the Bible doctrine necessary to help us win each one of these battles one by one. Fear is the enemy of freedom! The filling of the Spirit produces the nine manifestations of the Spirit, which frees us from the mental attitude sins of fear, worry, and anxiety (cf. Gal. 5:22, 23).
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.—Ephesians 4:1-3 KJV
As the one who is writing to them, Paul describes himself as ‘the prisoner in the Lord.’ The Greek word for ‘prisoner’ (desmios) basically means one who is bound, tied with a chain, or confined. Four times chains are mentioned in connection with Paul’s being bound and imprisoned. (Acts 21:33; 28:20; Eph. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:16). The evidence indicates that he was in prison in Rome at this time (Phil. 1:13). In this verse he refers to himself as being the prisoner ‘in the Lord’ (en Kurio, which means in the sphere of the Lord or as a result of his activity which centered in the Lord. This is the only time he speaks of being a prisoner in the Lord. Generally, he calls himself a prisoner ‘of Christ Jesus’ (3:1; Phile. 1:9; cf. 2 Tim. 1:8). The underlying reason he was a prisoner was the message which he preached, the Mystery, the Truth of the Church (6:19-20; Col. 4:3, 4; 2 Tim. 2:9).—Ernest R. Campbell, A Commentary on Ephesians (1986)
Paul was a Roman prisoner under indictment for violating Sanhedrin law, Hebrew temple law, and treason against Rome (cf. Act 25:7, 8). As a Roman citizen, Paul had exercised his civil rights and appealed his case directly to Caesar (cf. Acts 25:10).
The Roman government had ordered Paul to be kept chained up (cf. Acts 28:20). However, even though Paul’s body was bound by a Roman chain, Paul was free in his own soul. He did not consider himself to be a Roman prisoner, but instead to be a “prisoner in the Lord”. Freedom reigned in his soul! Personal freedom is a grace gift from God, because every gift that has real intrinsic value originates with the Father (cf. Jam. 1:17). Apart from the grace of God, no real freedom can exist!
The Laws of Divine Establishment for Temporal Living in the Material World Codex-4 Individuality is the law of Personal Freedom! We have previously written on this subject several times and always explained that it consists of volition, privacy, responsibility, property rights, and accountability. God the Son gave the original codex to Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Adam was given the volitional right to choose what food he wanted to eat (with one exception—c.f. Gen. 2:16, 17) and to choose for himself a name for every bird and animal (cf. Gen. 2:19). It is important to note that Adam was not stupid nor did he possess a cave man mentality. He knew and could identify his Creator-God’s voice (cf. Gen. 2:16-25 with 3:8-10). He could not only hear and speak; but he could also comprehend and reason. He gave names to all the birds and animals (cf. Gen. 2:19, 20a). As he studied and observed all of these birds and animals, he was able to conclude that no pet could be the help-mate God had told him he needed (cf. Gen. 2:18 with v 20). God the Son gave to Adam the Edenic Covenant in which Adam became the Son’s prince-regent ruler over the planet earth (cf. Gen. 1:26 with vv 29, 30; 2:8-17). The false idea that Adam was very ignorant until he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a Satanic lie that implies that Adam’s original sin made him wise. No! Adam had the mental capacity to understand that he had been created by God; and that he was under the sovereignty of God. At the same time, he understood that God had introduced him into a fantastic world and made him the conditional ruler of it. He did lack experiential knowledge. It is impossible to establish the length of time that Adam was alone in the Garden or how long he and Eve lived together before his original sin. The nine hundred and thirty years of his life span did not begin their countdown until the moment in which he committed his original sin. When we read Scripture, we need to pause to pray and to cogitate on what we are reading. Genesis is not a fiction story nor is it a detailed day by day or month by month or even year by year biography of Adam’s life in the material world.
Adam was created first (cf. Gen. 2:7 with I Tim. 2:13) and lived alone in the Garden of Eden for an unknown period of time. Logic demands that recognition be given to the fact that he could not have observed all of the different species of birds and animals on an individual basis, given names to them, and rejected them as a help-mate in a matter of a few days or even weeks. God created a body for Eve out of “Adam’s rib” and gave to Eve the breath of lives. He gave biological life to her human body, psychological life to her human soul, and spiritual life to her human spirit (cf. Gen. 2:21, 22a with 1:27b), He then presented her to Adam (cf. Gen. 2:22b). Utilizing his personal freedom, Adam immediately identified her as his right counterpart and accepted her as his wife (cf. Gen. 2:23-25). Under the law of Individuality, personal freedom existed in the soul of Adam prior to his original sin.
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.—Job 1:22 KJV
Throughout Scripture, we have historical examples of men who were free in their souls despite the details and circumstances of life (people, places, things, and time) that surrounded them. Job suffered the loss of all of his children and all of his wealth and yet he refused to abandon his faith in God. Then Job suffered the loss of his health (cf. Job 2:1-8). Then while he was under severe physical suffering, his wife turned against him and rebelled against God (cf. Job. 2:9, 10). Then his friends came for the purpose of bringing him comfort and encouragement; but when they saw the severity of his suffering they turned against him and made false accusations concerning his spiritual life (cf. Job 2:9-11; 4:1-5:27; 8:1-22; 11:1-20; 15:1-35; 18:1-21; 20:1-29; 22:1-30; 25:1-6; 32:1-37:24). Job was actually under a severe Satanic attack; and he did not know it. God then intervened and gave new divine revelation (i.e. Bible doctrine to Job—cf. Job 38:1-41:34). Job responded in humility and in faith to God’s truth (cf. Job 42:1-6). God then gave historical vindication to Job’s faith in Him and in His Word (cf. Job 42:7-12; Ezk. 14:14, 20; Jam. 5:11).
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.—Jude 1:3 KJV
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace (cf. Dan. 3:1-25) and Daniel in the lion’s den (cf. Dan. 6:1-28) testified with their lives that they understood the real doctrine of personal freedom. Therefore, they took a stand for God’s truth. A prayerful study of Hebrews chapter eleven will reveal to you the heroic deeds of men and women who were prepared to defend the faith against all enemies. They were not interested in being politically correct. Defending the faith is not just taking a stand for the Gospel or for fundamental spiritual doctrines of the faith. It means standing for all of God’s truth!
Personal Freedom existed in the Garden of Eden before human sin existed. Its originator was God the Father; and therefore it was designed for good and not for evil. It needs to be understood, appreciated, and defended by every believer. It is not a license to sin because it carries with it personal responsibility (cf. Gen. 2:16, 17a) and personal accountability (cf. Gen. 2:17b with 3:6-19; 22-24). Personal freedom provides the basis for utilizing responsibility and accountability in marriage and family life.
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.—Daniel 1:3-7 KJV
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were Jewish royalty. While in their teens, they were seized as prisoners of war. They were taken to Babylon for the expressed purpose of being brainwashed; so that they could become useful to the Chaldean Empire. These men accepted their status as prisoners of war; but they resisted the brainwashing and sought ways to limit its affects upon them (cf. Dan. 1:8-16). God honored their stand for spiritual liberty. After their training was completed, God caused Nebuchadnezzar to assign them places of authority (cf. Dan. 1:17-21). God’s power is not limited by the plans and actions of evil rulers; and He used these men to lay the groundwork for His bringing Nebuchadnezzar to his knees before his Creator-God (Dan. 2:1-49 with 4:1-37). They did not bow to governmental tyranny!
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.—II Timothy 4:16, 17 KJV
Whatever honor I had carried into Vietnam, then, as an American, a military man, the achievements of my past life were nothing compared to what I now sensed in what He had given to me of His character, His knowledge. I had been broken in that prison, brought to the very end of myself, allowed to suffer so I might know how to help those who would suffer around me. I had gone to Vietnam a respected churchman who had a healthy, ideal family—but I had not the inner capacity, in God or anyone else, to minister genuinely to the suffering of another person. For some reason, known only to the Lord, I had been chosen of Him to be that instrument for Him, and what I had gone through would bring a new sensitivity to the needs of others and perhaps an example of the goodness of God to them. Through my suffering, others could see proof that He would keep them in their hour of darkness as well.—Capt. Eugene B. “Red” McDaniel USN with James L. Johnson, Scars and Stripes (1975)
Paul was a Roman prisoner; but he still stood for truth. Capt. Red McDaniel was a POW in North Vietnam; but he stood for truth. His stand for truth and liberty demanded that he be "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (cf. Matt. 10:16). He became one of the key Christian men that God used to help many of our POWs make it through the terrible conditions of their captivity. Col. Nick Rowe US-Special Forces, as a young 1st Lt., was a POW/MIA for five years, two months, and two days before he was able to escape and be rescued. During all of these years of trials and tests, he resisted the attempts to brainwash him and held on to his faith in God and his duty to his country as a military officer. Capt. McDaniel and Col. Rowe understood the practical application of the Bible doctrine of Personal Freedom. By this, we mean that they never surrendered in their souls to the Satanic brainwashing under which they were placed. They mastered the details and circumstances of life under horrible conditions. They were prisoners in their bodies; but never in their souls. We could tell you the stories of many other men, some of whom we have met and talked with, and some of whom we have only read about. Since the laws of Establishment for Temporal Living in the Material World are for believers and unbelievers alike, we have found both saved and unsaved people who survived life as a POW because they would not surrender in their souls. Some of them became believers after they escaped or were rescued.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.—I Corinthians 10:13 KJV
If believers and unbelievers can survive life in a POW camp under the most horrendous conditions then you and I, as believers, should be able to stand the trials and tests that the Father allows to come into our lives. We need to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Phil. 1:21) and remember how He endured the horror of the cross for you and me (cf. Heb. 12:2).