Few concepts have been so abused and misused as the concept of “freedom.” In the western world, it has become the self-righteous motive for every form of rebellion, anarchy, and self-gratification. It has effected society and individuals. The common concept which men hold is that freedom is the liberty to do whatever one wishes to do. Those who are more guarded would add this proviso: that it must not infringe on another persons freedom. Sadly, its tentacles have reached into assembly life and spiritual life. The cry for freedom and deliverance from legality is heard from many quarters.
What is freedom? Some would suggest that it is the opportunity to do what is right. But something more must be involved. Israel was given the law and as a result knew what was right. They were brought into a relationship with God and had the opportunity to do His will. The law, however, became bondage, not freedom, for them. What was missing?
The missing dimension to true freedom is not the knowledge and opportunity to do the right thing, but the capacity to perform it. The words of the Lord Jesus in John 8 substantiate this. Knowledge and practice are intimately interwoven in the discovery of true freedom. Just freedom is the liberty and the ability to do what pleases God, not what pleases self.
Several articles in this issue of Truth and Tidings directly address this theme. The thorough review of Bible Commentaries by our brother Walter Gustafson which continues in this issue, points to the need for a clear understanding of the Word of God.
The careful study of Gods Word which discovers truth and Gods will for us is demonstrated in the article by Lloyd Cain on Johns use of “hina,” a small but important word in his epistle.
The burden, however, shifts back to those who are raised up of God to teach others the mind of God. This is underlined in the article by our brother Crawford which touches on the responsibility of those who minister at conferences in our ongoing series about the Burden for Conferences.
An excellent article by brother Jim Beattie reminds us that in family life, granting the necessary independence to our children can result in tears and trials. This abuse of freedom can be one of the sorest trials for the godly parent. His article and suggestions are worthy of the attention of all. Articles dealing with the work of the Lord in Korea and the history of assembly work in Northern Iowa round out our magazine for this month.
The purpose of all ministry, whether written or oral, is that the people of God might know the will of God, and moving in the ability afforded by the indwelling Spirit, carry out that will. This is true “freedom.”