Freedom should look like freedom. Jesus said this:
John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (ESV)
This is was during a discussion about how He was the revelation of the Father. He said just prior to this declaration of freedom these words:
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (ESV)
If we could only see how we are dominated by our fallen way of thinking. I don’t mean that as an insult but a truth that should bring revelation and a desire for freedom. Our fallen thinker is insistent on rules and regulations and lists. It is the perfectly dysfunctional judgment mechanism, just ask any human walking on planet Earth. “It says it so I believe it so that settles it” is a common claim that is a direct output of the fallen processing mechanism. Again I don’t mean an insult. If you find peace and joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit while living from “exactness” and “perfect division of right and wrong” and “rightly dividing the word based on your interpretation that is derived from a popular vote based on at least a decade or two of exhaustive study and exact understanding of a people group that lived 4500 years ago” then go for it! And while you do leave the freedom seekers alone. Really, don’t be jealous and argumentative against those walking in the light of freedom. That is called judgment and Jesus prohibited that. OK, got that off my chest.
Freedom in Christ is characterized by many things but on the top of my list is the freedom from judgment. That isn’t just in the people realm. It is in the universal realm. The freedom from judgment applies to God as well. I don’t have to see Him fitting into my lists and rules and paradigms. I am free to see Him as He is revealed in Jesus. That unsettles some (likely many) because I get to ask questions. I get to find the Word (Jesus) in the word (the Bible). If the Bible makes God out to be a villain or a monster that kills woman and children I get to ask a question and find Jesus. If the story portrays God as an angry Father that uses plagues and torture and suffering to “teach” people a lesson, I get to ask a question and find Jesus. This is called freedom. It is the basis for Faith. I am trusting in my relationship with God instead of my knowledge of a book. The Bible is inspired by God and recorded by man. It isn’t dictated by God. God’s perspective may not be captured by the story-teller since the story-teller may have not had God’s perspective. Job is a great example where we get to see both perspectives. We get to see how Job and his friends comment and cast their opinions and have no idea the devil is behind all the suffering.
Derek Flood has authored a great book that has so much more detail than I can post. That is why he wrote a book. The short title is “Disarming Scripture.” I would recommend you pick it up if you are a freedom seeker. If you want to debate and argue and insist on unquestioning obedience instead of faithful questioning, then this book is not for you. But if you are looking for a good God, a God who IS LOVE, a God who looks like Jesus then I would pick this one up and spend some time in freedom. He does stretch your brain so be forewarned.
As an example of faithful questioning I want to show you three accounts in the Bible. In this first one I want you to see that what the authors of the text recorded may not be the “whole story” and in this case one of the “inspired” writers actually got it wrong. Ready for revelation?
Remember when David took a census? Remember that people died because of David’s census? I won’t go into the whole story but you can find the account in 2 Sam 24 and 1 Ch 21. Go and check it out. For the sake of your time and space on this post here is the punch line:
2Sa 24:1 Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “ Go, number Israel and Judah.” (ESVST)
OK, straight forward right? God is angry, David screwed it up and people end up dying. Here is the same account in Chronicles:
1Ch 21:1 Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. (ESVST)
Oops there it is. Who is angry at David?
Remember Chronicles was written after the nation of Israel returned from exile in Babylon. Could it be that 1000 years or so changed their perspective of God? Could it be that things that were “hidden” before became evident later? Could it be that the Nation of Israel did not know about or understand the influence and contributions of the devil until later in their evolution? Could it be that this is why we needed Jesus to understand? Could it be that Jesus reveals the true nature of God?
OK, that is a narrative example. Here is a “nature of God” example.
Deu 28:63 And as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. (ESVST)
Was Moses inspired by God? Did he just use the “thus says the Lord?” OK how about a perspective from and “inspired” author later in the narrative of mankind:
Ezk 33:11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (ESVST)
Which one is right? Which one do you believe? If you are a person of “it says it so I believe it so that settles it” then what do you do? Can I again suggest this is why we have Jesus and a relationship with God in the Holy Spirit?
OK Last one (for now). Here again is Moses:
Exo 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, (ESVST)
Deu 5:9 You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, (ESVST)
And here is Samuel:
2Sa 12:14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” (ESVST)
Now here is a prophet who lived hundreds of years later than these guys:
Ezk 18:3 As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel… 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. (ESVST)
Wow! Which one is right? In asking that question you need an arbitrator. You need a mediator. You need an advocate. You need a teacher. You need a councilor. You need a comforter. You need the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Christ. This is why Jesus came. This is why He is the good news. He reveals God as He is not as we think He is.
OBTW I think I’ll come back to this passage in Ezekiel later. This chapter is amazing in that it clearly lays out the “reaping and sowing” truth of God’s design. Check it out if you are brave.
I’m really tired of arguing. So for the readers out there, if you are looking for a God that looks like Jesus then keep on reading and enjoy our journey together. If you need to argue or correct or rebuke, I don’t need it or want it. If you have questions about how we got to a place in the discussion, then bring them on. I love to talk about what Jesus is showing us.
Please see this venue and revelation as freedom to think and ask questions. That is the basis of Biblical Faith because it includes God in a relationship. Faith in the words on the page as the basis of knowledge that insists on certainty for security is not faith. That is human wisdom and human effort. Jesus is our King. Jesus is our groom. Jesus is our relationship. That is called being a follower of Christ. The early church called them Christians.