29th August 3013

The Truth Will Set You Free

“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.’”
John 8:31-34 (NIV)

Jesus made a remarkable statement about the power of truth, as recorded in John’s Gospel quoted above. The Bible gives us a knowledge of sin and righteousness, but most Christians come to realise that knowledge alone doesn’t give them liberation from sin. Paul wrote about this in Romans chapter 7. No matter how hard we try, we fail consistently to live up to God’s standards. He described our reaction to repeated failure in terms of “What a wretched man I am! …” (Romans 7:24) Our failures don’t lie to us, but the truth they tell normally isn’t what we want to hear.

Many of us become very nervous at the prospect of public speaking because we know that it can reveal a lot about us—too much for comfort! Many years ago, when I first came into contact with the church, I joined its public speaking club. I knew it was a major weakness of mine, and with God’s help I expected to make substantial progress. I was, however, very disappointed with the help I received when I had a speech assignment. No matter how much I prayed about it, help wasn’t forthcoming. In retrospect, I can see that in asking God to help me give a polished performance I was, in effect, asking Him to mask my faults. God wanted me to face up to my speaking problems, which were symptoms of my inner condition—as it says in Luke 6:45, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Now that I want to learn from my experience, whether in speaking, or life generally, God gives me the help I need. I can never fail because, whatever happens, I can always learn about myself. Even when I don’t like what life shows me, by accepting the truth of my current condition I feel whole. Although I try to live my life in the right way, I know that I still sin. But in wanting to change I focus on yielding to God to allow him to change me from the inside.

The process of liberation from sin is related to that of the forgiveness of sin. We are forgiven, not because of anything we do, but because part of God’s grace is the sacrifice of Christ to pay the penalty for our sins. Our part is to accept that sacrifice and ask God to reveal the root cause of our sins to us, then to let him change us. (Psalm 19:12) True change comes from Christ living in us, and our response to his love and grace. It’s a challenging process, often frustrating, but sometimes amazing and always fascinating.

Prayer
Dear Father, please help us to see how we shy away from awareness of our faults and the effect that has on us. May Christ in us be the truth that sets us free.
Amen

Study by Melvin Hall

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ancientbibleAbout the Author:
Melvin Hall attends the Southampton Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God, UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Southampton
Tauntons College
Hill Lane
SOUTHAMPTON
SO15 5RL

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Noon
Email: peter_noon@wcg.org.uk

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