The Truth vs man's systems
"Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." What is this truth which sets men free? Can it be found within the walls of a denomination?
"And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
When Jesus spoke these words, the Jews replied immediately. "We be Abraham's seed and were never in bondage to any man." These were strange words coming from the Jews. How could they say such a thing? For four hundred and thirty years they had been slaves in Egypt. For seventy years they had been captives in Babylon and at that very moment they were under the dominion of the kingdom of Rome. So why did the Jews make such a boastful and untrue statement?
The answer is to be found in their words, "We be Abraham's seed." In these-words we find the very foundation of the Jewish blindness. God had promised to bless Abraham and his seed forever, and the Jews were absolutely convinced that because of this promise they would be a sacred people, special and peculiar to God forever. They did not realize that this would only be true if they remained faithful to God and were obedient to His word. They felt that they would never, ever, under any circumstances be cast off, or rejected by God, no matter how disobedient and unfaithful they were. So blinded were they by this false idea, that it led them to even deny the fact that they were in bondage at that very moment.
Therefore, the words of` Jesus, "Ye shall know the truth," annoyed the Jews. Here He was, suggesting that they did not know the truth, yet they were Abraham's seed! They were the chosen people of God, belonging to the true church, and they could prove it. They could trace the history of their nation in an unbroken line, right back to Abraham who had been the friend of God. God Himself had given them many, many, promises that He would never cast them off (Jeremiah 31:35-37). He had even delivered to them by His own mouth and by His own hand, His sacred laws. At that very moment they were standing in the great temple, raised up by them to the honour and Glory of God. If ever there was a people who had the truth, it was the Jews, and yet, here was Jesus suggesting that they did not know the truth, and that they were in bondage. The very suggestion filled them with anger.
But did the Jews really know the truth? What is the truth? Is it a set of carefully guarded doctrines? Is it the knowledge of God's ceremonies and Laws? Is it something which can be locked up within the walls of a certain church? In a general sense, when we talk about truth, we mean, that which is not false. We mean, that which tells us the reality about things. However, Jesus was talking about truth in a particular context. He was speaking about that truth which will enable us to achieve the whole goal and purpose of God’s plan for our lives. That truth which will enable us to become fully what God wants us to be. In this context, what, in fact is the truth?
Well, according to Jesus, truth is the thing that sets men free. Free from what?
"Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin . . . if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:34-36
God’s truth sets men free from sin! No matter what theories we believe, no matter what religious group we belong to, as long as we continue to commit sin, it means that we do not know God’s truth. Whoever commits sin is in bondage. He does not know the truth! For hundreds of years the Jews had faithfully carried out their religious services; they had studied the Laws and the sacred writings; they had jealously guarded against those who tried to change their faith, but despite all this, they did not know the truth because THEY HAD NOT BEEN SET FREE FROM SIN! They had never come to know the truth because God’s truth is not found in mere doctrine; truth is a person and that person is Jesus Christ.
"Jesus saith unto him. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. " - John 14.6
The Jewish religion was NOT the truth, and it had never been the truth. God had only intended that it should be a means by which they could come to know Him, because He, and He alone was the truth. The Jews had missed the mark completely. They had come to believe that the system itself was truth, therefore they believed that by being a part of the system they had the truth! They naturally came to the place where they worshipped the system and they considered it the greatest heresy for somebody to speak against the system as Jesus did.
This, then, was the problem that the Jews had. They were so secure with what they had, so sure that they had the truth, that they saw no need of anything else. They were, "rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing (Rev. 3:17)." The system had blinded their eyes and therefore they could not see Jesus. The choice that faced them was: Jesus, or the system? They could not be loyal to both because the system had taken the place of God. In order to take His rightful place in the hearts of people, it was necessary for Jesus to first of all destroy the reverence which they had for "the church." But the leaders of the Jews recognized what Jesus was doing and so, to save "the church", they crucified Jesus. In their zeal to preserve "the truth", they murdered the Truth! (See John 11:49,50)
Is it any different today? Jesus is still the Truth. No system, no organization, no church can set men free. Yet, the great majority of those who claim to be Christians have diligently followed in the footsteps of the Jews. They worship their churches. They regard these systems as the sources of light and truth and they fiercely attack those who dare to criticize.
But what is your hope of salvation? Is it the fact that you were baptized into a certain church? Is it because you have accepted the fundamental beliefs of an organization? Is it because you carefully observe the commandments as taught by your church? This is the position of millions of people today. They were made to believe that when they joined the church they were saved. They were told, "Our church has the truth. We are the true church." And yet, although these people claim to know, and to have the truth, they tell a lie because THEY ARE NOT FREE FROM SIN!
Can your church take away your sins? Was it a set of doctrines that hung, bleeding on the Cross for you? Is it a denomination that loves you with a love, stronger than death? No! It is a person, a living, thinking, feeling person. Therefore, the reality of Christianity is to know Jesus. That is it. No more, no less. You owe no loyalty to any human organization; Do not follow them. But you owe your all to Jesus. Follow Him.
Over and over, God has sent holy men to the churches with messages to turn the eyes of the people to Jesus. But every time Jesus is lifted up, the towers of Babel (man's systems) are torn down. So the religious systems have never allowed, and will never allow Jesus to be the ruler of the people. They have crucified Him again and again as they have cast out and slandered and destroyed His servants.
Every time that men have come to know Jesus, there has been a breaking away from the religious systems, as happened at Pentecost and during the Protestant reformation. Each time there was also great persecution of the true Christians by the religious organizations, as the leaders saw that the systems which they worshipped were in danger of falling.
Today, it is no different. When men come to know Jesus, there will be freedom. Men will find the power to overcome weakness and temptation. There will be freedom from sin. Without a blind loyalty to a denomination or religious group, they will understand the word of God without prejudice or bias. There will be freedom from falsehood.
But the churches will unite to persecute and destroy those who dare to be different - who dare to worship in a different way. Once again, as in the past, the established churches will view the work of Christ as a threat; as something which is dangerous, and they will rise up to persecute and to crush those who are determined to follow Christ alone, in the way of truth. The Bible testifies that this is how the last great persecution will come against God’s true people (John 16:2).
Friend, are you still enslaved, or have you been set free? Your church cannot set you free; your doctrines cannot set you free, in fact, these may be the greatest obstacles to your freedom. There is one way, and only one way to salvation:
"Ye shall know the Truth (Jesus) and the Truth shall make you free. "
"This is life eternal; that they may know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. "
Do you believe that this is an unimportant matter? God’s word tells us that in the last days people would not endure sound doctrine, but that they would find teachers for themselves who have "itching ears", and they would turn their ears away from the truth and would believe fables (2 Tim. 4:3,4). God’s sure word is that, because of this; because they did not love the truth, He would leave them to receive STRONG DELUSION, that they should believe a lie, and the end result is that "they all might be damned who believed not the truth (2 Thess. 2:10-12)". My friend, the churches are full of false teachers. Men who are only in this business to make a living. People who are seeking profit. Persons who are paid to do their job. These men must teach what they are told to teach. They dare not teach the Bible as it reads. It would cost them their jobs.
My friend, God wants you to be free. The whole world is in bondage, but do you want to be free? Do you wish to escape the great delusion which has blinded the world? Then please take my advice. Turn away from man-made systems which only exist to glorify themselves. Turn to the Lord with all your heart (Jer. 29:13). Make it the business of your life to spend much time in talking with God alone. Find a quiet place where you can reason with Him often. Open your whole life to Him and let Him take control. Develop the habit of communing with Him wherever you are and whatever the situation you may be in. Feed upon on the words of God continually and ask the Lord to wash your mind clean from the empty traditions of men and their denominations.
My friend, this is life. This is your life. Eternity is too important for you to treat it lightly. May God set us free from man’s systems, that we may be able to find the real life and truth of God, in Jesus Christ.