Liberty and The Good Fight of Faith
I would like to say just a few things about the meaning of the word liberty, as it is meant to be understood by God's people, and what it takes for us to have and keep it. First let's consider that having liberty obviously means to be brought out from under bondage to someone or something, or both. We know that Jesus came from Heaven to establish a way whereby He could redeem us from sin; and God be thanked, so He did! So the term liberty, as it should be understood by the children of God, means to be brought out from under the dominion that sin has exercised over us all our lives (Rom. 6:16-18). I don't believe that anyone is in dispute about this reality of the Gospel; but how this redemption, or liberation, takes place, is something that desperately needs to be understood in unison by the
body of Christ today.
One scripture, II Cor. 3:17, can begin to give clarity to the Bible's answer as to how this redemption, or buying back from bondage takes place in the life of an
individual: "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." This scripture is not saying that the Spirit of God is all that there is to Jesus. Jesus said that the Spirit would be sent back from Heaven in His name, after He went back to the Father. And after He ascended to Heaven He sent back the
holy Ghost in His stead, meaning that the holy Ghost is now the only
in this world representing Jesus. So the first point made by II Cor. 3:17, as mentioned above, is that there simply is no Jesus, or no God for that matter, in this world, apart from the
holy Ghost. Jesus is in Heaven, sitting at the right hand of the Father, who obviously is in Heaven as well. But the
holy Ghost represents both Jesus and the Father here on earth since the time that Jesus went away and sent it back here (Jn. 14:23).
Now the second point of II Cor. 3:17; as it states, is that wherever the Spirit of God is, there is liberty. This is to say that when someone receives the Spirit of God into their life, they are
from the bondage and dominion of sin, and are thus enabled to stay that way by means of the power of God . Hallelujah! Oh Glory to God, may we thank God eternally for this glorious and holy reality that He has so graciously manifested to us: that we can actually be delivered from the power of sin, literally, and from the grip of Satan; and be liberated into the "peace which passeth all understanding." Amen and amen! When Jesus said "Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" bless your heart, He meant it! There is an abundance of rest for our souls, if we will daily cast our cares upon Him.
Two more points about this glorious liberty described to us by the Scriptures: First of all, the way that someone receives the Spirit of God into their life, is to be baptized with the Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues. This truth is clearly evidenced throughout the new testament scriptures, and is clearly outlined in detail on our page about
the Holy Ghost. And because this is true, it means that no one is liberated, or delivered from sin, before or without being baptized with the Spirit. And I am sadly aware that God's people have been universally taught otherwise. The Congregation
of God has been taught diligently to disesteem the very power that brought us out of sin, and to esteem something else in it's place ("getting saved," "joining the Church," "accepting the Lord," "confessing Jesus," etc.). As it happened in the Old Testament, so has it happened now: "behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt" (I Kings 12:28).
The next point is a direct result of the former. God's people, meaning those who have been baptized with the
holy Ghost (I Cor. 12:13), have been misled into believing that sin is something that we all just have to live with, and that nobody really gets literally delivered from the inner bondage of sin; but rather we have a figurative deliverance, if we believe what Jesus did for us. This erroneous school of thought is most popularly summed up in the phrase "saved by grace." But a more thorough examination of the term "grace" in the Scriptures will reveal that being under grace means that we not only
CAN be literally delivered and washed from the very nature of sin, but that we
must be: and we must remain that way if we hope to
inherit eternal life. It is no marvel that
God's people now find themselves steeped in sin, divided against one another, drained of divine life and power; trying so hard to replace these lost treasures with added service and zeal, but yet "not according to knowledge." In other words, we have lost our divine liberty, and the benefits and privileges thereof. Seeing we have disesteemed the true grace of God, which is the infusion of His all-encompassing Spirit into our very being, and have replaced this grace with other
forms of "grace" which do not deliver from sin; what can we really expect as a result? And this I say with genuine sorrow of heart.
There is however a solution to this calamitous dilemma that God's people are presently overwhelmed by. That solution begins with us forsaking the doctrines and commandments of men, which have made the word of God of none effect; and with honest and humbled hearts, laying hold on the real life-giving truths of the living God. This will enable us to return to our roots, so to speak. Through belief of the truth, we can retrace our steps back to where we first believed and received the blessed
holy Ghost in our lives. It may be, if we
duly esteem what God has done for us through His Son Jesus, by rightly esteeming the experience that resulted from all that Jesus suffered and accomplished for us; that He will grant us mercy, that we might "remember therefore from whence [we] are fallen, and repent, and do the first works;" (Rev. 2:5). Thus we will be far better equipped to "fight the good fight of faith," and to "lay hold on eternal
life" (I Tim. 6:12). This we can do, merely by continuing in Christ as we began: by seeking Him daily with faith, humility, and perseverance,
; and by walking in the power and the
love of the Spirit that we've received .
I want to close this article by mentioning a couple of very important points about the liberty of God's people, and about the "good fight of faith." Liberty is never to be interpreted as the
license to do what
ever we may so choose to do, regardless of the moral substance, or lack thereof, of what we are doing. That is not liberty. It is rather a delusive bondage to self will. The struggle to preserve that kind of supposed liberty is altogether carnal, and is certainly doomed to fail, being in opposition to the will of God. The liberty that we must strive after is that which consists of holiness; and the faith, love and peace of God in our lives. And our fight to attain unto this liberty, and to preserve it unto life eternal, is one that can only be fought with the spiritual weapons of that same divine love, faith, peace and joy. As we are told in II Cor. 10:3,4: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war
after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
We must never forget that the warfare that we have been called to is "not against flesh and blood..." (Eph. 6:12), but against spiritual adversaries. And as we approach a time of tribulation, and a time of deception, such as this world has never seen, we should remember the admonition of the great apostle Paul: "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (II Tim. 3:4).
Anyone who would allow themselves to be lured into focusing on the political, social, and international issues of this life, is missing the mark, and being set up for a huge fall spiritually.
Beloved, this is a time to pray much for one another, for the nation that we
live in, and for all men (I Tim. 2:1-4; Eph. 6:18,19). And this is a time to
know the difference between what the Spirit of God is
saying His people, and what men are saying to them without the voice of the Spirit (Rev. 2:7,etc.; I Jn. 4:1; John 10:27; Mat. 24:4,24).
Being ultimately liberated from this vile, corruptible body; and from this vile,
corruptible world; and receiving a body like unto Jesus forever in a world of eternal
glory, is what's at stake; and we can't afford to fall short of such a glorious prize. (Plilip. 3:20,21; I Jn. 3:2,3). And remember: "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom.1 2:21); for this is the good fight of faith. May God bless you now and ever. Amen.