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Pioneering Freedom in Jesus Christ

by David A. DePra

If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And

you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (Jn. 8:32)

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

(Jn. 8:36)

I am the way, the truth, and the life. (Jn. 14:6)

     Knowing the Truth -- the Truth that sets us free -- is supposed to

be a fundamental aspect of the Christian experience. And of course,

knowing the Truth means knowing Jesus Christ -- for He IS the Truth.

Yet so many of God's people do not know the Truth. They are

blind to it and deceived.

     Of course, there are all kinds of deception. What we usually think

of when we hear that word "deception" is someone who doesn't

understand Bible verses. Or someone who holds to doctrinal error.

Or an unsaved person who doesn't realize his condition. All of

these carry an element of deception. But when all is said and done,

deception boils down to this: Believing and being governed by

LIES about God Himself.

     But again -- don't think of this in terms of doctrines and teachings.

Those are merely the EXPRESSION of what I believe. What I really

believe is on the inside of me. Being governed by error and lies

have to do with my moral and spiritual concept of God. Lies about

God always distort His grace, His love, and His intentions towards

me. These lies, in effect, distort to me who God is, the kind of God

He is -- indeed -- God's own character.


     Relationships have to do with not only the interaction between

people, but the investment we make in each other. If I never make

an emotional investment, or an investment of trust in someone, there

is not much of a relationship. Of course, with regards to God, the

investment is eternal. God wants a total oneness with us through

Jesus Christ. And for that to be possible, we must believe the Truth

about God so that we will be able to give ourselves to Him.

     What I believe about someone always governs my relationship

with them. It works that way between human beings. If I believe that

someone likes me, and is my friend, I will desire to be closer to

them, because I know they are "for me, and not against me." But if

I believe someone is against me, and is out to get me, then I will do

what I can to avoid them, if not hide from them.

     Now notice: What I BELIEVE about the person governs my

relationship to them. And -- in turn -- it governs their relationship

towards me. But what if I am totally deceived? What if, for instance,

the person I think is my enemy is really a friend? Then the possible

relationship I have with them can never be unless the LIES I believe

about them are first exposed.

     It is like this with God. We believe lies about Him -- lies which

keep us away from Him; which hurt our relationship with Him. These

lies must be exposed, and we must see the Truth, if we expect to be

able to live and fellowship with Him.

     Now, all of that is true. But it is just the beginning. There is more.

It is one thing to say, "I need to see the Truth about God." Or to say,

"I need to be set free from lies about God." But we also need to

realize that there are REASONS WHY we believe lies. These

reasons are not merely "bad info," or "false teaching," although

those are important. The real reasons we believe lies, however, is

that those lies have found a HOME in us. We give place to them.

They wrap themselves around sin and unbelief.

     Again, think of it humanly. If you believe lies about someone, it

is likely that you are at fault. Perhaps they offended you -- it is

always easier to think badly of someone who has offended you. Or

maybe they are a threat to you -- someone who is a competitor. It

is easy to resent someone when that is the case. The point is, if you

and I embrace and accept a lie as the Truth, it is likely that it is

because that lie satisfies something in us. It appeals to us either

positively -- by feeding pride or ambition -- or appeals to us

negatively -- through fear, anger, or by injuring our pride.

     If you doubt this ask: Why then did I believe those lies? Why

was I not merely NEUTRAL about what I saw and heard? That's the

point. We are not neutral. We have stuff IN US which makes place

for these lies.

     If you have ever believed lies about someone, the best way to

discover the Truth is to do what? Get to know them. It is a fact that

if you resent someone -- and don't really know them -- that if you try

to get to know them, often that atmosphere of resentment is broken.

It seems that the moment I go over to someone and touch base, the

atmosphere of resentment and fear in me breaks. That is because

I am opening myself up to the truth about them.

     Everyone has those times when they feel foolish because they

have believed lies about someone. We recognize that what we

thought of someone had nothing at all to do with them. It had to do

with US. It was something in us which created that problem. And

now that that problem is resolved, we can see more clearly.

     Incidentally, I am not saying that every time we think someone is

out to get us, that we are wrong. Maybe they are. It is not always

wise to open ourselves up to people who have made themselves

our enemies. I am simply drawing an illustration for the purpose of

pointing out one thing: That we believe lies about God. And that

there are reasons IN US for doing so. And until those reasons IN

US are dealt with, we are not going to see the Truth.

     The way God sets us free by the power of the Truth parallels our

human example. The way we see the Truth about God is by getting

to know Him. The more we get to know God, the more we see the

lies for what they are. But in order to accomplish any of this, God

must deal with all those things in us -- fear, pride, sin, unbelief --

which give a home to the lies. For when lies about God have no

more home in us -- then we are truly set free by the Truth.

Knowing God

     When Jesus said, "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall

set you free," it is clear that He is addressing people who presently

do NOT know the Truth, and who presently are NOT free. Do you

see that? His words are a promise -- and would be unnecessary if

we ALREADY knew the Truth and were ALREADY free.

     Likewise, Jesus said, "When He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He

will guide you into all Truth." (Jn. 16:13) This means that we are

NOT, in the beginning of our walk with Christ, in the Truth. Otherwise

we would not need to be guided into it.

     So all of us begin in error, and in bondage to that error. Lies

about God and His Son. But these promises tell us that our walk

with Christ is going to be geared to bringing us into a true knowledge

of God, and the resulting freedom.

Jesus said this outright in John 8:

If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And

you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (Jn. 8:32)

     Note the condition He sets: IF you continue in My Word....and

you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free. A clear

CONDITION is being set. IF you continue walking with Christ, you

will more and more know the Truth and experience real freedom.

To "continue in My word," means to continue seeking the Truth

through surrender, obedience, faith, and prayer. It means to set a

course for the will of God and refuse to be moved from it.

     However -- IF we continue in Jesus' Word we are also going to

encounter WHAT? Well, we are going to encounter everything that

runs contrary to it! We are going to have to face, and unlearn, not

only the lies we have believed, but we are going to have to face,

and repent of everything in US which gave these lies a home!

     What we are talking about here is "adjustment" to the Truth. You

and I are NOT geared to Truth by nature. God must make us fit for

it. This is because "knowing the Truth" is not a matter of merely

having information. It is a matter of the Truth Himself possessing us,

and bringing us into conformity with Himself in an eternal


     Make no question, when it comes to growing in the Truth, we

have only two possibilities. In the final analysis, I will either adjust

the Truth to fit myself, or I will allow God to adjust me to fit the Truth.

And if I do allow God to adjust me to fit the Truth, He must clear out

all that is in me which does NOT fit it!

     The ironic thing about this is that we think this is bad, or a big

burden. But no. It is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He

said, "The Truth shall set you free." Jesus was telling us that we

would be set free -- not just from bad information and teachings. But

that we would be set free from our spiritual and moral CONDITION

of being compatible with error. We would be adjusted and brought

into conformity with the Truth of God Himself in Jesus Christ.

New Territory

     If you are a Christian who seeks to walk with Jesus Christ, and

who desires to be set free by the Truth, you are entering into territory

which no unbeliever enters. In fact, you are entering territory which

some Christians refuse to enter. What this means is that you are

going to face enemies, and problems, which you would not have

faced otherwise.

     Now get that. You do not need to face these things to be saved.

No. You are saved. But now you want the Truth. You want to be

set free to grow in your relationship with God. That means that you

must face everything in yourself, and in the realm of the Spirit, which

runs contrary to the Truth. You asked for the Truth, and this is the

price. Thus, you are going to involve yourself in warfare, suffering,

struggles, and trials which you would otherwise have known nothing

about. You would never have faced these problems if you had

simply settled for an easy life of "religion." But you didn't. So now

you have the trouble. But -- you also have potential for freedom.

     This fact is important to know because it may clear up why,

despite being a faithful Christian, you are always up to your neck in

trouble -- perhaps even some which is not of your own doing. Have

you ever felt as if, despite the fact that you have believed God, and

obeyed Him, that you always end up with suffering and trials? And

what makes it worse is that some Christians, who never seem to put

their trust in God -- who don't even seem to care -- these Christians

always have everything going their way? Perhaps they even have

the very things in their life that YOU wanted. Why?

     It could very well be because you have entered into territory, in

the name of Jesus, where they haven't. You are facing issues and

challenges which are ONLY in there -- in that territory of the enemy.

In the field of overcoming. You are facing issues which are at the

very foundation of life in Christ. And you are paying a price for it.

That's the "bad news." But the "good news" is that it will result in

real freedom. It will result in actually knowing and seeing, and being

governed by, the Truth.

     The fact is, there is no other way to get free. You cannot get free

by working your way around the enemy. You cannot get free by

making a truce. You cannot get free by settling for less than

freedom. You must pay the price of facing error, sin, unbelief, and

the enemy himself -- head on. And if you do, you will win. There is,

in fact, no way to lose!

     Why? Because the victory is already won. Jesus Christ has won

it for us. Our battle, then, is not to win the victory. Our battle is to, by

faith, stand in His victory, and take possession of it. We must go

into this new territory and face these enemies and drive them out.

     We see this overcoming clearly illustrated when Israel entered

Canaan. God had given it to them, and as a result, the victory over

those who lived in there was assured. But God did not drive them

out. He ordained that Israel go in and drive them out in His name.

     Now what is clear is that Israel would have never had to face

these enemies unless they had entered the land and tried to take

possession of what God had given them. If they had elected to

live on the outskirts of the land -- and a few of the tribes DID want

to do that -- they would have had land, and few obstacles. They

would have never faced the real enemy.

     But you know what? They would have never experienced what

God really had for them either. And -- they would NOT have ever

known what they missed. They would have remained diminished.

     Herein is part of the deception which besets many Christians.

Because they refuse to enter "the land" God has given in Christ,

but settle for less, they become comfortable in it. And they never

even realize what they are missing as to the things of God. They

remain blind to the Truth. THAT is deception, isn't it?

     So if you want to be free -- truly free -- expect to enter into a land

wherein are enemies of God. Expect to encounter warfare that you

would not encounter if you took the easy way out. Yet it is the ONLY

way there is to truly get free. You must face the enemy, stand in the

victory of Jesus Christ, and you will experience the freedom.

Spiritual Pioneers

     God needs pioneers. Pioneers are people who go ahead of

the majority, to explore unchartered territory. Then they come back

and tell everyone else about it so that the journey for everyone else

will be easier. They will have signposts and direction which only the

pioneer makes possible.

     The job of a pioneer is difficult. There is no one who has gone

before him. He has no pioneer to direct HIM.

     It is like this spiritually. God calls people to be spiritual pioneers.

But the difference is that the spiritual pioneer DOES have someone

who has gone before him: Jesus Christ. And in fact, the apostles.

That is why the church is built upon the apostles and prophets, with

Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. We may be entering new territory.

And it may be scary. But there isn't any territory we can discovery,

and no enemy we can face, which Jesus Christ has not conquered.

     The best illustration of this is seen, once again, when Israel

entered the promised land. They had been in the wilderness for

forty years. Now, they were about to cross the Jordan river -- and

spiritually speaking -- enter into a "new situation." They were about

to enter into territory which they had never experienced before. At

that time, God's directions were profound:

When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the

priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place,

and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about

two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may

know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way


     The ark, of course, represents the presence of God -- and to us --

Jesus Christ. Note that the ark is OUT FRONT, leading Israel into

this new territory. There is also "a space between" the ark and the

children of Israel. This shows that Jesus was the "forerunner" who

has gone before us. (see Heb. 6:19-20) There is no place where

our feet can tred that Jesus has not already been. The territory is

new to US, and we have indeed, "not passed this way before." But

Jesus has. He has already conquered this territory and is now

leading us into all Truth.

     God only asks us to "continue in His Word," that is, follow the ark.

Then we will be led into territory to face enemies which we would not

have other wised faced. He guarantees us these problems, this

suffering, and this warfare. But if we will follow, we will overcome

everything in us which runs contrary to the Truth of God in Jesus

Christ. And we will see and experience the Truth about God. This

is freedom. It is freedom for us, and our contribution to the Body of

Christ for all ages.

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