What is TRUE Liberty?
Most do not know what real freedom is. Read here the surprising answer which some church members have yet to understand and apply.
by L. Leroy Neff
Good News Magazine, October 1961
The Worldwide Church of God Archives
PAUL said: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us FREE” (Gal. 5:1).
Just what is this liberty?
Does this mean that Christ has made us free to DO AS WE PLEASE?
interprets this to mean that we are free to follow the inclinations of our own will — in plain words, to sin! Jesus said: “Whosoever committeth sin is the SERVANT of sin” (John 8:34).
What did He mean?
The world has been completely and totally deceived by Satan (Rev. 12:9). As a result the world speaks of “liberty” and “freedom,” AND YET THE WORLD IS IN SLAVERY!
“They promise them FREEDOM, but they themselves are SLAVES of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved” (II Pet. 2:19, RSV).
Everywhere we hear of people wanting freedom. They do not want to be told what to do, or when to do it. They do not want to be RESTRAINED by law or government. Every man wants to be a law unto himself and not under the authority of LAW.
Each man wants freedom, and by seeking Satan’s pseudo freedom he becomes ENSLAVED to sin.
He becomes ENSLAVED since he disobeys the spiritual and physical laws of his Creator. By breaking the laws of our Creator, we bring upon ourselves DEATH.
Slaves to Lust
Most of mankind is a slave to wrong habits and desires. They are enslaved by passion, anger, drunkenness, drugs, dope, or everything vile and unclean. Others are slaves to society, or to the thoughts, ideas or opinions of others.
Such people are in real miserable bondage to such desires and passions. They think they are wise while rejecting the Creator God. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22).
Instead of serving the true God, they have served things which they have made. Therefore, God has given them up to UNCLEANNESS through their own lusts and as a result they have become abject SLAVES to their own passions and lusts.
Yes, THE WHOLE WORLD IS IN SLAVERY TODAY.
Satan has deceived the whole world into thinking it is free! Yet the whole world is in slavery, only free to do evil — to harm the self — to destroy the self. The same slavery to sin and to Satan is expressed by the Apostle Paul. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves SERVANTS to obey, his SERVANTS ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Rom. 6:16).
The word in this scripture that is translated “servant,” is “doulos” in the Greek. This word means to be “enslaved, enthralled, subservient.” As a noun it refers to a “slave, a servitor, or person of mean condition.” This is the same word which is usually translated into the word servant in the New Testament. In fact it was so translated 120 times.
With this in mind let us read the next verse. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the SERVANTS of righteousness” (Rom. 6:18).
Slaves of Christ
The way to become FREE from sin is to become the SLAVE of RIGHTEOUSNESS. This may seem to be a paradox. Freedom and liberty in Christ is freedom from the penalty of sin.
We are either SLAVES OF SIN, or SLAVES TO RIGHTEOUSNESS. Those who are slaves to sin are slaves to Satan the Devil. Those who are slaves to righteousness are slaves of Jesus Christ. But, the yoke of slavery that Christ puts on us is joyous and light (Matt. 11:29-30).
Paul also mentions the principle of our being slaves of Christ in I Corinthians 7:22-23. In order to make this more clear, the word “slave,” which is a correct translation, is being used instead of the word servant.
“For he that is called in the Lord, being a slave, is a Lord’s FREEMAN: Likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s SLAVE. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the slaves of men.”
Since we are the slaves of Jesus Christ, we should not submit ourselves to become slaves of man. That is, we should not permit ourselves to come under bondage or slavery to others. Neither should we come under the spiritual slavery of Satan the Devil.
The fact that we are slaves of Jesus Christ is also mentioned in several other places by the Apostle Paul. He also referred to himself as a slave of Jesus Christ several times.
Responsibility of Masters
In the strict sense, a MASTER is totally responsible for his slaves. He is responsible to provide their lodging, their clothes, their food and other necessities. This is assuming that the slave SERVES WELL. If not, the master may have the power of life and death over his slave.
It is because of this authority that many masters have dealt cruelly with their slaves. Many masters have had their slaves cruelly tortured or put to death when the slave was not worthy of such punishment.
As slavery was practiced during New Testament times it was necessary for the Apostle Paul to write to Timothy concerning this very important point.
“Let as many servants (slaves) as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing MASTERS, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do THEM SERVICE, because they are faithful and beloved, PARTAKERS OF THE BENEFIT. These things teach and exhort” (I Tim. 6:1-2).
Christian slaves must have proper respect for their masters, otherwise they blaspheme God. The master is supposed to SERVE the slave, and to take care of his needs. As a result the slave partakes of the benefits of the master.
God is Ruler and Master over all, and yet He is the One who serves the most. According to God’s commands, the one that serves is the greatest. Therefore, Christ is our servant, even though He is over us as our Master and Lord.
That is exactly opposite to the masters and rulers of this world. They exercise authority and lordship over those that are under their authority (Luke 22:24-26). How contrary to God’s just and good ways!
What is a Master?
In one inspired prayer recorded in the Bible the people lifted up their voice to God with one accord and said “Lord, Thou art God” (Acts 4:24). In our English translations this does not appear unusual, but in the Greek there is a difference. Usually the word “kuriou” is used and translated into an English word “Lord.” In this particular place the word is “despota.”
This Greek word refers to Jesus Christ as a DESPOT. Actually this same word is used several times referring to Christ (II Pet. 2:1 and Rev. 6:10). This seems strange to us today. We only know of despots as those who are cruel and inhuman.
A despot is “an absolute ruler.” In other words, a despot is a ruler who has the power of LIFE and DEATH over his subjects. Most of the despots of this world have been tyrants and oppressors. They have ruled with harshness and force. However, there have been a few which have been termed “benevolent.”
Jesus Christ is a BENEVOLENT Despot. In other words, He is an absolute Ruler, having the power of life and death over His subjects, but He rules them in LOVE and KINDNESS and serves them continually, providing for their needs and necessities.
Since Jesus Christ is a benevolent Despot, our Master and Lord, we should expect Him to supply our needs.
Many of God’s people do not realize their correct relationship with their Ruler and Creator. That is why some of them are not as happy as they ought to be.
They do not realize that they are TOTALLY and COMPLETELY in the same status as a slave. They do not realize that their Master is a benevolent Despot having the power of life and death over them, but at the same time one who has the responsibility of providing all the necessities of life.
If we had a benevolent master according to the flesh, we would surely expect him to provide these things. Since our Master and Lord is not visible, we sometimes do not think that He has the POWER OR THE INTEREST to supply us our needs.
Some of God’s people are unhappy with their circumstances or station in life. They are not satisfied with their home, their food, their clothing or position. They are not happy with their health. The trials and tribulations they have to endure sometimes discourage them, even though the “burden” and “yoke” they have been given by Christ is light (Matt. 11:29-30).
Why is this? It is because such people are dissatisfied with what their Master has PROVIDED. They are UNTHANKFUL!
Did you give your Life to Christ?
Let’s go back to the beginning of the Christian life and examine briefly the agreement that we have made with Jesus Christ. When we were baptized, we agreed (according to Luke 14:26-33) that we would love Christ more than even our OWN LIFE. We agreed to bury the old self, to be willing to give our life completely, totally and without reservations, to Jesus Christ. He was then to become our Master (Despot), our Lord, and our Ruler.
By such an agreement, we were making a solemn contract with Jesus Christ to give our lives to Him in SLAVERY.
Yet, in spite of this, some people say that they did not know that the Christian Life was going to be quite like this. Apparently they expect a life of ease and plenty. The Bible states that the life of a Christian is going to be filled with trials and tribulations, BUT God has promised to deliver us out of them all (Psalms 34:19).
Since we have agreed to give our life to God, nothing that God would require of us could be greater than this. After all, what do you value more? Your life, or the physical assets you might have. Your own life is of more value to you than dollars and cents. It is worth more to you than reputation, friends, houses, lands or cars!
Since you have agreed to give your life to God you have no complaint, no matter what happens. GOD WILL NOT REQUIRE OF YOU MORE THAN YOU HAVE AGREED TO GIVE.
The question is, DID YOU REALLY GIVE YOUR LIFE TO CHRIST? If you really did, then you should not be unhappy whatever your present state. You should not be unhappy about your situation in life. You are being continually filled with more and more joy, which is one of the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
Is Jesus Your Master?
Some of the people of God are just like some of the people in the world. They call Jesus Christ their Lord and Master, not realizing WHAT THESE WORDS MEAN and their relationship with Jesus Christ. They call Him their Lord and Master and yet they don’t do the things He says to do (Luke 6:46-49).
In this regard Jesus Christ has told us that we are to seek the kingdom of heaven first and all these physical things are going to be added for us. Notice Matthew 6:24. “No man can serve TWO MASTERS (as a slave): For either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Since we are serving Jesus Christ, we should not take anxious thought about the necessities of life. “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matt. 6:30.)
God is our Master and Lord. He is our Supplier. Therefore, He instructs us “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
These are promises for Christ’s slaves. Those who are obedient to Jesus Christ, and are doing the things that He says to do, are seeking first the kingdom of God. They are receiving the necessary things of life.
Since Christ provides these things, we need not be overly concerned about them. We should not fear or worry. We must do our part, be industrious, be profitable servants or stewards, working diligently at whatever He has given us to do. Then He will provide these things for us. When trials, tribulations or other difficulties come, when we may be in lack or in need, our Master knows our state of affairs and will provide these necessities in His own time.
Do You Have Faith?
Some who consider themselves a part of God’s Church do not believe that their Master will provide for them. They do not have FAITH that Jesus Christ IS, and that He is a rewarder of them that DILIGENTLY seek Him. By this lack of faith they are not in complete subjection to their Master, Jesus Christ. Yet the Bible states that without faith it is impossible to please God.
Do you have that kind of faith? The kind that believes that God means what He says, and that He will supply such needs? Or, are you in rebellion and disobedience to Jesus Christ and harbor doubts that He will take care of these needs?
You have agreed to give your life to Christ. He has agreed to supply all your needs if you seek His kingdom first.
Therefore, you should have complete confidence and trust in God. You should have complete joy and happiness, realizing that God cares for you and will supply your needs. In fact, God will supply your needs even beyond what you may ask or think.
Christ Supplies our Needs
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20). Having this knowledge, we certainly can have joy exceedingly.
Realize, even though we may have trials and tribulations, they all happen for our good (Rom. 8:28). Realize fully that our MASTER knows our need even before we ask. Realize also that He will not bring upon us more than we are able to bear (I Cor. 10:13).
Therefore we need not worry. We need not be over-anxious for the affairs of this life, but can accept with joy anything that happens to us, knowing it is for our good. Knowing in full confidence that everything is going to turn out all right. We can have supreme confidence in God, knowing that He does everything for our good and will treat us as benevolent servants, providing for our needs and helping us in the time of trouble. All GOOD AND PERFECT GIFTS come from God (James 1:17).
Satan has deceived the world into thinking it is free, while it is held by him in cruel bondage and slavery.
Jesus Christ has freed us from that slavery, and has given us freedom and righteousness IN SERVING HIM.
In return He serves us in more and greater ways than we can serve Him.
Certainly our God is good and merciful. Our Master supplies all our needs. Thank God we have CHOSEN the right Master.
– Leroy Neff