There are many, thank God, who truly rejoice in being righteously made free from the burden of their sins: in being justified freely by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. They know that His atoning work is so perfect, that God can say concerning those who believe on Him, “Their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more.” They are free, and they rightly rejoice in faith.
But our enquiry is, Are you yourself perfectly free in God’s things? not simply free from your sins.
Many who can say, “I know my sins have been put away by my Saviour for ever,” can go further and say, “I know also that the root, from which my sins came, has been sacrificially removed too: root and branch—all has been righteously dealt with.” God, having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, has condemned sin in the flesh—in His sacrifice for it upon the cross. It has been absolutely condemned and unsparingly judged. Both sins and sin have been put away in Christ’s sacrifice. Now He is risen from the grave without them; and a new principle of life is ours in Him; so we read, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death” (N.Tr.)—yes, “set me free!”
We have good reason to thank and praise God that we are freed from both sins and sin, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking of bondage to sin, He pointed the way of freedom from it; “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32); but in verse 36 we are told of further freedom—not only from, but into. So we read, “If therefore THE SON shall set you free, ye shall be really free.”
Why? Because of the greatness and glory and intimacy with God of the One who grants this holy freedom along with Himself in God’s things. He instructively said, “The servant abides not in the house for ever: but the Son abides ever.” This holy nearness and intimacy eternally belong to the Son—mark, “THE SON”—therefore He can give this real freedom personally, which none else can, “THE SON ABIDETH EVER.” In John’s gospel we read of the Son in the Father’s bosom (1:18); and of a loved disciple in the bosom of Jesus (13:23); who said to His own, concerning this day, “Ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you; “because He is risen and ascended to the Father; and the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, has come.
So great and glorious is our Saviour and Lord, we are told of Him in Colossians, “All things were made” by Him, the Son of the Father’s love; also that the pre-eminence in creation is His; because H, the Son, made all things (1:15-16). Glory to His holy Name! Such an One is able to give real freedom in God’s eternal things, even as He has righteously freed us from sins and sin by His sacrifice. How infinitely blessed and true are His own words, “If, therefore, THE SON shall set you free, ye shall be REALLY FREE.” He is “before all” we read; and abiding ever in eternal things and eternal relationship as THE ETERNAL SON, He can set us free before THE FATHER in regard to eternal things, in the grace and power of Him who is called “THE ETERNAL SPIRIT”—really free!
Ephesians 2 explains doctrinally how we are now become nigh, though once far off. In Him, whose blood was shed, this nearness is ours. Liberty of access to the Father, through Him, by the Spirit, is divinely granted to us. Mephibosheth, who was once afar off in Lo-debar, was set down at the royal table in the king’s palace, to eat bread at the king’s table, as one of the king’s sons. He said to David, “What is thy servant that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” But the royal father showed “the kindness of God unto him.” That kindness has given us holy happy freedom in His presence, and we now address Him “Abba, Father.” Once dead in offences and sins, without God in the world, afar off, we are now brought inside by THE SON, who came where we were to bring us in faith where He is—to “the Father’s house of plenty” —really free there; and eventually to be with Him in His Father’s house above. In the parable we read, “Let us make merry,” when the son was received home safe and sound. “And they began to be merry” we are told (Luke 15). They “began”; and there is no word of an “ending.”
In 1 John 2 we find the Son named before the Father; for, being the Son, He brings us eternal life, being Himself spoken of as “the eternal life.” So it is said to us, “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise which He has promised us, even eternal life” (v. 24).
The true believer on the Son has eternal life. The Son, as we have said, because of who He is, can bring us into what is eternal; and no one else can do so. John 3:36 reads, “He that believes on the Son has life eternal” (N.Tr.). Being eternal Himself, the character of the life which is ours in and through Him is eternal also. All glory to Him that this is so. His be the praise for ever and ever.
God the Father has so ordered that “all should honour THE SON, even as they honour THE FATHER” (John 5:23). In the freedom He grants, we shall never seek to detract from His glory; but find our joy in honouring the Son, even as we delight to honour the Father, through the eternal Spirit’s grace and teaching. Made “really free” in the things of God, we shall rejoice in that Word, “He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).