“If the Son sets you free, you will be free, indeed” (Luke 8:36, NIV).
Canadians are known as “nice” people throughout the world. We are friendly, kindly, and usually happy people. But that has changed with the COVID crisis.
Canada is now a divided country.
On one side are those who think the governments of Canada are doing a great job keeping COVID at bay. On the other side are those, including this writer, who see tyranny rising as our hard-fought-for freedoms disappear down the rabbit hole of “two weeks to flatten the curve.”
This never-before-seen dichotomy of thought is causing real rifts in the fabric of our society, even among our families. It is a rift that has gone beyond the “vaxxed vs unvaxxed” divide, and it is tearing our great nation asunder.
But Canada is not alone in this tragedy. People all over the world are watching life-as-they-have-known-it disintegrating before their very eyes – that is life as we have known it for the past 77 years (since the end of World War II).
Since the inception of this horrible invasion of COVID, pockets of us around the globe have been aware of what appears to be the silencing of conservative and especially Christian voices. Lockdowns have been particularly hard on places of worship over the past two years.
And now, in Canada, Parliament is hoping to quietly pass re-worked and re-introduced legislation – the so-called anti-hate speech Bill C-36 – with little fanfare. However, the cat is out of the bag, as they say, and religious communities and others see this latest effort as opening the door to anti-Christian teaching and thought, and perhaps even as the final nail in the coffin of free speech and freedom of religious thought in Canada.
BUT GOD … But God has a Plan, and as we Christians enter the unknown territory of this post-Christian era, it is more important than ever before to study the LORD’s Plan in His Holy Word, clinging tightly all the while to the promises made by Our Saviour.
In this essay we’re going to go through four different Bible passages. The first three concerning respectively, Fear, Faith and Freedom will take us to the fourth, which is The Future.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES REFERENCED IN THS STUDY:
- FEAR: 1 Samuel 17
- FAITH: Luke 2:22-38
- FREEDOM: John 8:31-36
- FUTURE: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Revelation 22:1-7
FEAR – Overcoming it.
In the pages of 1 Samuel 17, we meet David as a lad, a teenaged boy who watches his father Jesse’s flock of sheep. David had been sent by his father to the war front, where the Israeli army was squared off against the Philistines, to bring food to his brothers and to the army.
His mission was also to bring news of how the battle was going back home to Jesse.
At David’s arrival at the front, it had been 40 days since the Philistine’s champion 9-foot, 9″ tall Goliath had begun taunting the Israeli army. The giant was calling for one Israeli to meet him one-on-one on the battlefield, the victor to determine which side would win the war and which would be subject to the other side. In that time, not one man came forward to fight the giant. The Israelis, including their leader King Saul, were all terrified of him (verse 11).
The LORD God often sets the stage in this way to show the people His own might. Before David arrived at the scene, no one had a clue that the Israelis could prevail over the mighty Philistines. But God … BUT GOD … brought forth a young man who was already walking with Him – a young man with no military training, with no physical presence, but whose heart was totally obedient to the LORD’s. This is how God works in the world. And it is how God can work in us and through us – those who are obedient to the commands in His Holy Word. Out of great fear can come victory but often not in a form we might expect or envision.
Despite the marvelous rewards that had been promised by King Saul for the man who engaged Goliath, no one stepped up. These were not insignificant, either. The king had promised great wealth to the man who kills the Philistine’s giant. Saul had also promised to give the hand of his daughter in marriage to the victor and exempt his family from taxes in Israel (verse 26).
David was intrigued by these promises and kept asking about them. His inquiries were overheard, and these conversations were reported to Saul, who sent for David (verse 29).
The first words out of his mouth at their meeting were, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him” (verse 32). You can imagine the king’s disdain for this young kid who supposed himself to be the champion against the formidable Goliath.
But David perseveres and tells Saul he has fought both a lion and a bear (verse 34) and bested both and that he has confidence he can best the giant. David also tells Saul it was the LORD God Almighty that gave him those victories and that, in the same way, the LORD would give the giant into his hand. Saul gives him leave to go.
But in verse 38, we see that Saul doesn’t trust the LORD, as David does. He dresses the lad in his own cumbersome armor and arms David with his, the king’s, own weapons. This is Saul’s sin of pride which keeps getting between the king and God.
So now we learn one of the most valuable lessons in the Bible, not only about fear but about how to walk obediently and in perfect trust with the LORD.
The weight of Saul’s armor and weapons render David incapacitated. He cannot move. Shrugging it all off, he picks up his sling and chooses smooth stones from the river (verse 40).
Now the LORD has set the kind of scene He loves … a vessel of righteousness, the punier, the better, against a whole army of unrighteousness, no matter how mighty.
Goliath taunts the lad, saying, “Come here and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals” (verse 44).
But David says to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, Whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands…” (verses 45-46a). And, of course, David downs Goliath with a stone from his sling, slays him with the giant’s own sword, and cuts off his head to be displayed in Jerusalem as the symbol of God’s victory over the foes of the Israelites.
I wonder, what would it take for us Christians in the 21st century to have the same implicit trust in God that David had? What would it take to develop in our hearts a trust so strong, a faith so impenetrable, that fear would never have a chance to get a foothold in our minds and hearts?
FAITH – Deepening and holding fast to our faith.
When the Baby Jesus was presented in the Temple for circumcision on His 8th day, the little family was met by two amazing people, Simeon and Anna.
Both had been waiting for the fulfillment of the prophesied coming of the LORD’s Messiah.
Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the consolation of Israel … the foretold Messiah (verse 26).
When the Holy Spirit moved Simeon into the path of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, Simeon took the infant in his arms and praised God. Simeon had believed God’s promise and had waited patiently for years and years.
When he finally saw the baby Messiah with his own eyes, Simeon declared he was now ready to go to be with the LORD, for God’s promise had been fulfilled.
Simeon prophesied over the baby (verse 34), telling His parents how His life would impact Israel both positively and negatively in order to reveal the good or evil in people’s hearts. He also told Mary a sword would pierce her mother’s heart, a reference to the death of Jesus on the cross.
Another prophet was there at the same time, this one a very old woman – Anna – who had lived in the Temple for years and years. She constantly prayed and fasted as she, too, awaited the arrival of the Messiah (verse 37).
Coming up to the little group, Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Here, again, is a faith so strong it could transcend years and years of waiting.
As the days grow darker and apprehension grows over the loss of our freedoms, it would behoove us all to cultivate a patient faith like Anna’s as we await the Blessed Hope of the Rapture.
FREEDOM – When our faith is strong, we are no longer slaves to fear, sin and death.
In our third Scripture passage, we see the Pharisees following Jesus around as He preached, hoping to catch Him in a lie or in some errant teaching. They constantly challenged Him but could find nothing with which to charge Him.
Jesus never wavered in His teaching of the Good News, even when it set His enemies against Him. The Pharisees and Sadducees were chained to a lifestyle and religious fervor that didn’t allow in the healing, saving Light of the Way, the Truth and the Life, and so allow them to be set free from their chains of spiritual bondage.
In this snippet of the entire conversation, we find Jesus telling those who are already following Him to hold fast to His teaching.
Jesus promises that something wonderful will happen when they do (verse 32). He says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
And now His followers question Jesus, saying they are Abraham’s children and have never been slaves of anyone, so how can He say, “The truth will set you free.”
And Jesus replies, “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.”
As followers of Jesus, we are set free in His Truth. Our souls even long for the day when we will see Him in heaven because we love Him, and we know He loves us.
As one who has worked in nursing homes, I have watched both saved and unsaved people die.
The difference in the experience is often like night and day. Most of those who had been born again and walked with Jesus embraced the end of their lives, some with utter joy. Many of those who were unsaved had a harder time going into “that good night.”
As Christians, we have nothing to fear from death or indeed from anything in life.
We have God’s assurance that we are so loved that He sent His one and only Son to earth that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). When we are assured of the eternal love of the Creator, we have nothing to fear.
Indeed, there is no fear in perfect love (1 John 4:18).
The Truth of Jesus Messiah is that He loves us and has died to save us from our sins so we can be with Him for eternity. That Truth, brothers and sisters, sets us free.
The Freedom Convoy in Canada has captured the imagination and attention of people all over the world. However, if people just want to be free from tyranny and physical confines and do not seek their freedom from sin through Jesus, they will never really be free.
Conversely, if we all were to be rounded up and put in chains, we are still free in Christ. No one can take that freedom away! Let me say that again: NO ONE CAN TAKE OUR FREEDOM IN CHRIST AWAY, not with chains, not with prisons, not with tyranny. That, my friends, is true Freedom, and it cannot be legislated away by anyone.
The Future – Our future is brighter and happier than we can even imagine.
The 1 Thessalonians passage is, of course, about the Rapture. Most of you can probably recite these verses verbatim by heart by now. Our Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13) is what we are looking for in these days, just as the Jews in the 1st century (BC, AD) were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah the first time.
Our hearts burn with anticipation as we long to hear the loud command from the LORD with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God! Our patience runs thin as we so look forward to being caught up to meet Our LORD in the air with all the true Christians who have ever lived and who are still alive, to be with Jesus forever and ever.
As Apostle Paul writes, “Therefore encourage one another with these words” (verse 18).
We may go through some tough times for a while. But the promise of the LORD is to “keep us from the trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 3:10).
What does true freedom look like? Let’s read Revelation 22:1-7 together –
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the LORD God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
“The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true.’ The LORD, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place. ‘Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.'”
“If the Son sets you free you will be free, indeed!”
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father God,
Your Truth is the only thing that can set human beings free from the bondage of sin and death. How can we ever say thank You enough for the Great Gift of Jesus our Messiah? Please open our hearts to being more like Jesus every day. In His precious and strong Name, we pray. Amen.
If anyone reading this article has not yet received Jesus as their Saviour, but God has touched your heart by His Holy Word, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find a Bible-believing local church and ask the Pastor what you must do to be saved in Grace. In the meantime, please consider the ABCs of Salvation:
A – Admit
Admit what you have done wrong and ask forgiveness.
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
B – Believe
Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again as payment for your sins.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
C – Confess and Choose
Confess and choose to allow God to be in charge of your life.
Matthew 16:24 “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.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This article, based on God’s Holy Word, was written by the inspiration of God’s own Holy Spirit. All glory to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.