Published April 11th, 2012 by Dirk Waren
The truths of God’s Word are literally life-transforming and will set believers free in every area of life, just as Jesus declared:
“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
John 8:31-32 (NRSV)
The truth will indeed set us free, but notice the two conditions: (1.) we must “continue in” God’s Word and (2.) we must “know the truth.” Simply put, if we give up at some point or choose to stay in the darkness of ignorance the truth can’t set us free, and understandably so.
To “know the truth” means more than just mental assent. “Know” conveys the idea of union, as in the connection between a husband and wife. It’s necessary, as Jesus said, to “continue” in his Word for the truth to become a part of you in this sense.
How can you know the truth like this? Practice what you know and understand. If you miss it, immediately get back up (Proverbs 24:16). You don’t drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there.
Also, if you’re a “believer” it’s naturally necessary to believe, meaning you don’t disagree with the truth of God’s Word. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s wise to question dubious teachings, including traditional doctrines that simply aren’t biblical — and there are many of these — but it’s of the utmost importance that believers believe the clear truths and promises of the Scriptures. Your words have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21), so be careful not to cancel out the awesome promises and blessings of God’s Word with words of unbelief. Doing so is double-mindedness and the Bible warns that the double-minded person should not think s/he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7).
For instance, the Bible emphasizes that you are “more than a conqueror” who will “reign in life” (Romans 8:37 & 5:17), but you go around saying, “I can’t do anything right; I’m a failure: I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” If you do this, guess what? You won’t be more than a conqueror and you won’t reign in life. More likely you’ll be a depressed failure. What’s the cure for double-mindedness? Simple, just do what Jesus said: Continue in his word with a spirit of faith, don’t give up, and when you inevitably miss it, be quick to repent (1 John 1:8-9). As you do this, you will come to know the truth more and more fully, “and the truth will set you free.”
Fountain of Life proclaims and encourages freedom in the following seven areas:
1. Freedom to Know and Walk with God.
There’s a big difference between knowing about the LORD and actually knowing Him. Too many Christians know a lot about God but don’t actually walk with Him. The gospel is referred to as the “message of reconciliation” in the Scriptures (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). ‘Reconciliation’ means “to turn from enmity to friendship.” In other words, you can be God’s friend just as Moses was (Exodus 33:11), you can be a “man [or woman] after God’s own heart” just like David (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22 & Jeremiah 3:15), and you can be a “disciple whom Jesus loves” just as John (John 13:23, 19:26 & 21:7,20).
There are levels of glory in spiritual growth (1 Corinthians 3:17-18), so rise up O man of God, rise up O woman of God, to new levels of closeness and strength with the Mighty One! In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11)!
Christianity is not a religion in the sense of Islam, Hinduism or Sciencefictionology, but rather a relationship with the Creator of the universe. Pursue a closer walk with the LORD. Developing a good relationship with God takes time and effort, just like any good relationship. Make sure part of your prayer time consists of simple communion – you hanging out with your heavenly Father and friend. Resist religious-tinged lingo when fellowshipping; shoot for a conversational tone and be real. Any step you genuinely take toward God will bring Him closer to you (James 4:8). You’ll be blessed.
2. Freedom to Soar in the Spirit.
The Bible promises that those who hope in the LORD “will soar on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31), but too many believers are grounded or hindered from the spiritual heights due to one or more of the five encumbrances listed below. Part of the awesome news of the gospel of Christ is that we can escape these impediments and walk in newness of life by “participating in the Divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). This is called living in the spirit or clothing yourself with Christ (Galatians 5:16 & Romans 13:14). When we do this, we activate “the law of the spirit of life in Christ” and neutralize “the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
These are spiritual laws. The higher law naturally deactivates the lower law, as long as it’s in motion. Consider, for example, the law of lift and propulsion, which enables aircrafts of all sizes to defy the law of gravity and fly. As long as the former law is activated, the latter law is rendered powerless.
Are you getting this? YOU can soar in the spirit high above the limitations of the mental realm and the darkness & captivity of the flesh. People who see life only from the mental realm and five physical senses will be limited by the human perspective. However, believers can activate the “law of the spirit of life in Christ” and “participate in the Divine nature,” which enables them to experience life from the Divine viewpoint, which is the eminent perspective.
You were born to soar in the spirit!
3. Freedom from the Flesh or Sinful Nature.
The flesh or sinful nature is the ugly beast within us all that naturally produces sin as we embrace its lusts (James 1:14-15). Sin is more than just murder, stealing, adultery and being a drunkard or druggie, it’s also things like arrogance, envy, jealousy, malice, gossip, slander, sloth, gluttony, deceit, fits of rage, factionism (i.e. rigid sectarianism), greed and the corresponding pompous airs of wealth (Galatians 5:19-21 & Proverbs 6:16-19). Some in the Church may be freed up from the overt sins but, because they show consistent evidence of the “smaller” ones, it’s clear that their flesh is doing quite well and, in some cases, going full blast. The great news of the gospel is that we can walk free of the flesh in the manner described in the previous section, by “participating in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
This potent passage offers details on how to do this:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self [the flesh], which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (24) and to put on the new self [the spirit], created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
The key here is two-pronged: (1.) You must put off the flesh, which means you don’t flirt with it and embrace its lusts, but rather “count yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus,” as taught in Romans 6:11. You must “count yourself dead to sin” by faith because sometimes you won’t feel dead to sin – particularly when you’re tempted by its lusts – but, spiritually speaking, you already are dead to sin. For instance, I used to have a problem with fits of rage; to walk free of these carnal fits it was necessary for me to start counting myself dead to such antics by faith. So I made it my regular confession: “I Dirk Waren am dead to fits of rage.” You can do this with any area of the flesh with which you struggle.
(2.) You must put on the new self, which means living according to who you are spiritually with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is “clothing yourself with Christ” (Romans 13:14) or “participating in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Remember, the gospel is “Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26-27). The only way you can live according to who you are in you spirit is by first knowing who you are in the spirit and, of course, accepting it or believing it. This explains why the passage above instructs believers to “be made new in the attitude of your minds,” which could be viewed as a third prong to walking free of the flesh. Your mental attitude is made new simply by accepting and believing who you are in your spirit!
Who are you in the spirit? Ten things:
- You’re holy (Colossians 1:21-22).
- You’re a child of God (John 1:12-13).
- You’re a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- You’re the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- You’re dead to sin (Romans 6:11,14,18).
- You’re more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37).
- You’re a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
- You’re rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).
- You’re healed (1 Peter 2:24).
- You’re a royal priest of the Most High God (1 Peter 2:9)!
Needless to say, don’t try putting on the new self (the spirit) without first putting off the old self (the flesh). To do so would be like changing a baby’s soiled diaper by putting the new diaper over the old one. It doesn’t work, not to mention it’s absurd.
To repent, by the way, simply means to change one’s mind for the positive. This doesn’t mean a meaningless mental exercise, but a change of mind with the corresponding actions, like the revolve to fulfill God’s will (Acts 26:20) and turn from that which is opposed to God’s will, i.e. sin (Acts 8:22 & 2 Corinthians 12:21). Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin (see Acts 20:21) and so for repentance to be effective it must be combined with faith, otherwise repentance is just a dead exercise. Is it any wonder that repentance and faith are the first two of the six basic doctrines of Christianity? See Hebrews 6:1-2. It is of the utmost importance to your spiritual health to grasp this.
If you’re having difficulty grasping the concepts of “who you are in the spirit” and “putting off the flesh or old self” please see the teaching Human Nature: Spirit, Mind & Body.
4. Freedom from Curses of the Law.
The “curses of the law” are relayed in excruciating detail in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. They can be condensed into five basic curses: physical illness, mental illness, defeat to human enemies, premature death and financial lack. The great news of the gospel includes this fact:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
“Redeemed” literally means to purchase a slave with intent of liberating. You see, Jesus set us free from all such curses by becoming a curse for us when he was crucified!
Am I saying that Christians can walk in victory over all five of these general maladies? Yes, absolutely. What I’m not saying is that you won’t be attacked in these areas. The Bible repeatedly says you will be attacked (1 Peter 5:8 & James 4:7). Take, for instance, the attack on Job’s life, which took place over the course of several months (see the book of Job). We also need to realize that believers may have one or more of these curses evident in their lives when they turn to God due to a generational curse and any associating impure spirit(s), but the truth can set them free!
When you are attacked – and you will be attacked – you must recognize it and take a stand. Resist in faith. In fact, put up your “shield of faith” even before you’re attacked, which will shield you from many of the enemy’s flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:16); in other words, his fiery darts will be extinguished before they can harm you. Pull out your “sword” as necessary. Your sword is the word of God spoken in bold, persistent faith (Ephesians 6:17). Slice down all lies and curses. Take a stand in faith and persevere. Continue walking according to the word in general and learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Don’t back back. If you make a stand in faith and persevere I guarantee you the devil will flee from you like a yelping cur with his tail between his legs (1 Peter 5:8-10). This means that the curse in question will flee from you (I’m not talking about some cartoony red figure with a pitchfork). The Bible guarantees it. It’s your covenant agreement with the Most High.
Just make sure there’s no sin in the camp, so to speak. Keep your spiritual arteries clear of the build-up of unconfessed sin. Always be quick to repent when you miss it and God will faithfully “purify you from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).
See the teaching Spiritual Warfare — the Basics for important exposition on this topic.
5. Freedom from the Yoke of Dead Religiosity, i.e. Legalism.
“Legalism” is a condition where people are obsessed with religious rules, which is why it’s called legal-ism. It could just as well be called law-ism or rule-ism. This spiritual disease focuses on the outward veneer of godliness at the expense of inward genuineness. It’s the idea that faith is an outward job. Real Christianity, by contrast, changes from the inside out, starting with spiritual rebirth and reconciliation with the Creator.
Legalism in its broadest sense is a spirit of dead religiosity that can manifest in six ways: (1.) general legalism or pharisaical-ism, (2.) rigid sectarianism, (3.) a spirit of religious-formal death, which is spiritual sterility where people just go through the motions, (4.) a spirit of bondage, (5.) a spirit of condemnation & authoritarianism, and (6.) bondage to Old Testament laws that were fulfilled in Christ (Colossians 2:13-17). By the way, when I use the term ‘spirit’ in this way — like “the spirit of authoritarianism” — I mean it in the sense of “established character” or a person’s overall vibe. For instance, Joshua and Caleb had a “different spirit” than the 10 unbelieving Israelite spies because they had a spirit of faith (see Numbers 13-14, particularly 14:24).
As you can see, legalism is at odds with genuine Christianity because true Christianity offers grace, life, freedom and joy, not condemnation, death, bondage and religious drudgery. Too many Christians fall into the pitfall of legalism in one or more of these six ways, yet – thankfully – the Bible declares: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). The “yoke of slavery” here is referring to being under the yoke of religious law. Believers have been released from the law and serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code for “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (Galatians 5:18, Romans 6:14, Romans 7:6 and 2 Corinthians 3:6). This article goes into more detail on this particular topic.
6. Freedom from False Doctrine.
God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). A false doctrine is any belief or teaching that simply isn’t true, meaning it’s not genuinely biblical. Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” but the truth can’t set us free if we embrace teachings that are false. Let’s be honest here: Every sect, camp and individual believer adheres to false doctrine to some degree. The only antidote is being open to the truth and willing to change, like the Bereans to whom Paul ministered (Acts 17:10-12).
Truth is discerned simply by “rightly-dividing” the Scriptures, which means “correctly handling” them (2 Timothy 2:15). Error is perpetuated by incorrectly handling the Scriptures. This explains why those who teach God’s Word will be judged more strictly because of the power and influence they wield (James 3:1).
How does one rightly divide or correctly handle the Scriptures? Simply by adherence to the four laws of hermeneutics, which is the science of Bible interpretation:
- “Context is king,” meaning one’s interpretation of a passage must gel with the meaning given it by the surrounding texts, which is the context.
- Scripture interprets Scripture, meaning one’s interpretation of a passage must coincide with what the rest of Scripture teaches; the more detailed and overt passages obviously trump the more sketchy or ambiguous ones.
- Take the Bible literally unless it’s obvious that the language is figurative, in which case you simply look for the literal truth the symbolism intends to convey.
- If the plain sense makes sense – and is in harmony with the rest of Scripture – don’t look for any other sense lest you end up with nonsense. This means every passage has an obvious meaning within its context, as well as a potentially deeper meaning within the context of the entire bible, like Paul’s figurative exposition on Hagar and Sarah in Galatians 4. The plain meaning of a passage will dawn on the believer with greater insight as he or she grows in the Lord. The purpose of this fourth rule is obviously to prevent bizarre and unbiblical interpretations of passages.
When a believer masters these four common-sense rules of interpretation it’s impossible to be misled by false doctrine and religious cons, including the ones who are simply ignorant of their error and don’t know any better (usually they’re ignorant due to sectarianism, which is when people are rigidly loyal to the official doctrines of their sect rather than to what the Bible actually teaches). The believer who masters these principles will be increasingly empowered and start to discern false doctrine — which includes partially true teachings — even from one’s own camp, which includes one’s own church assembly and pastor.
Strive to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:10-12 by maintaining a humble spirit that’s open to the truth, willing to search for the truth through regular study of the Scriptures, and willing to change in light of the truth when you see it. It goes without saying, flee life-stifling, growth-stultifying sectarianism and false religiosity like the plague (Luke 9:49-50 & Matthew 15:14)!
See the teaching Cultivating the Berean Spirit for more details.
7. Freedom from Doubt and Unbelief.
The Bible points out that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). What is faith? Some people think faith means believing in fairy tales. No, faith is knowing and believing something to be true even if you can’t prove it via your five physical senses. It’s something you just know. You know it because you discern it by your sixth sense, your spirit. Take love (not lust), for example: Love is an ethereal quality that can’t be proven through science or the five physical senses and, yet, we all know it exists.
Here’s another example: The first twenty years of my life I was an unbeliever. I grew up in a non-Christian environment but, somehow, I just knew there was a God. I would go out at night by the lake where I lived and try to commune with the Creator under the stars. Although my five physical senses didn’t discern God — not including the evidence of God in nature (Romans 1:20 & Psalm 19:1-4) — and practically all the people around me didn’t advocate belief in God (quite the opposite), somehow I just knew there was a Supreme Creator. This mustard seed of faith led to my salvation, reconciliation with the LORD and attainment of eternal life once accepting the gospel of Christ.
Another example: When I was around 8 years old my family and I were walking the trails of Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis when we came to the edge of a baseball field where a softball game was being played. As soon as we entered the outskirts of the field somehow I just knew that the current batter was going to hit the ball and it was going to hit me right on the face. I knew it but I didn’t know how I knew it. I just knew. I knew it by faith, even though I was only 8 years old (!). Next thing you know the batter hits the ball high into the air – it was like slow motion – and it came and hit me right on the cheek! Good thing it was a softball, huh? How did I KNOW this was going to happen? Obviously by my sixth sense, my spirit.
Every believer has “a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3), otherwise he or she wouldn’t be a ‘believer.’ The awesome news is that your faith can grow. One important way to grow in faith is by simply getting closer to your heavenly Father, as encouraged in the first area of freedom above; after all, it’s nigh-impossible for someone to tell you God doesn’t exist when you actually know the LORD rather than merely know about Him. It would be like someone trying to convince you that your mother doesn’t exist (or never existed, if she’s already passed on).
Faith also grows by feeding on the rightly-divided word of God (Romans 10:17). God’s Word is spiritual bread that feeds our inner being; Jesus said, “Man does not live upon bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). God’s Word doesn’t just increase faith, it also gives wisdom (2 Timothy 3:15). Wisdom is the ability to discern difference, including the ability to distinguish good and evil, truth and error, what’s proper and what’s improper in any given environment, etc. Needless to say, seek out God’s Word – hear it, read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it (Psalm 119:9-16). Just as important, live it, speak it, and believe it in the same spirit of Joshua and Caleb who entered their “promised land” (Numbers 14:6-9, 24). You will consequently enter your “promised land,” and I’m not talking about heaven.
Lastly, your faith can be energized and grow by regularly praying in the spirit (Ephesians 6:18, Jude 20 & 1 Corinthians 14:14-15). See the teaching The Baptism of the Holy Spirit for more information if you don’t know what praying in the spirit is.
Too Good to be True?
Are these seven freedoms too good to be true? No! They’re actually part of the gospel of Christ. Why do you think it’s called the “good news”? It’s sad and tragic that too many sects and leaders of the body of Christ today don’t proclaim these truths, whether due to ignorance, truth-stifling sectarianism, religious traditionalism or lack of fortitude because they don’t want to risk losing their bread & butter.
In any case, know this: If the enemy can’t keep you from salvation in Christ, the next thing he’ll attempt to do is to keep you from walking in these seven freedoms, which are your birthright. The reason the enemy will try to keep you from walking in them is because believers who are totally free are a serious threat to his kingdom and will automatically advance the kingdom of God.
Needless to say, make it your ambition to grow in all seven of these freedoms as you continue in your walk with the LORD. Freedom is a process, so don’t allow temporary struggles in any of these areas to disillusion you. Life’s a fight, fight it! The Bible says we are to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). Fountain of Life is dedicated to proclaiming and demonstrating these freedoms in all we do. Be sure to glean through some of our other teachings for elaboration on all seven.
May the LORD richly bless you as you seek and serve!
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