Restrictions of Christian Freedom
“You were . . . called for freedom, brothers; only do not use this freedom as an inducement for the flesh, but through love be slaves to one another.”—Gal. 5:13, NW.
1, 2. (a) Why cannot the universe exist forever part slave and part free? (b) Describe the freedom that a Christian now already enjoys, and what are some of its general limitations?
THE universe cannot exist forever part slave and part free as at present. The universal creation was never meant to be slave to selfishness and unrighteousness. (Rom. 8:21, NW) Of the outcome of this long-continued controversy there can be no doubt, and it was long ago foretold. The cause of freedom will win the eternity of peace. As freedom is the proper element in which Jehovah’s faithful creatures can live, those who live to serve him forever must do so out of their own willing choice, and joyfully so. To enable one to make an intelligent choice he should know what scope of freedom there is open to him in God’s divine service. True, the Christian should not take advantage of his freedom from being under the Jewish Law covenant to walk carelessly or loosely as to the flesh. (Col. 2:14, NW) But there is a further freedom to which the Christian has been called. This freedom has restrictions due to one’s love for God and for his fellow Christian neighbor. Hence a Christian’s freedom is a wisely restricted freedom.—Gal. 5:13, NW.
2 At the commencement the Christian must realize that, to a great extent, the freedom he already enjoys is relative. It does not exist apart from the Sovereign Superior, Jehovah God, who is in position to limit the realm of free action for the greatest good to his servants. This relative freedom can be enjoyed solely by living and acting in harmony with the restrictions made known by the Author of freedom, God. (Ps. 146:7, AS) These restrictions comprise the boundaries limiting a creature’s relative freedom. Some of these bounds to freedom are listed as follows: limitations imposed by nature itself, standards of social fellowship, principles of truth, laws theocratic, revelations of divine will, and restrictions by rights granted others. These will be considered in turn.
LIMITATIONS IMPOSED BY NATURE
3, 4. (a) What limitations are imposed upon a Christian by nature as to the use of his body? (b) What is meant by some becoming animalistically minded?
3 Men are men; they are not spirits or animals. By nature some are males and others females. Many are children and the rest full-grown, mature. Of the adults, a percentage are single and the rest married with responsibilities as husbands and wives. The human bodies of Christians are likened to vessels, and these must be kept clean and used wisely in accord with nature. (2 Cor. 4:7; 1 Thess. 4:3-5, NW) In all ages Satan and the demons have induced men to exercise free will by using their bodies in an unnatural way, contrary to God’s original purpose in making male and female. In describing those reprobates who have gone beyond the bounds set in nature, Paul writes, “That is why God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature, and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full recompense which was due for their error.”—Rom. 1:26, 27, NW.
4 Peter and Jude also describe those who exceed nature’s bounds by becoming animalistically minded. They warn that these even try to seek the fellowship of Christians. “Men, like unreasoning animals born naturally to be caught and destroyed, will, in the things of which they are ignorant and speak abusively, even suffer destruction in their own course of destruction.” “‘In the last time there will be ridiculers, proceeding according to their own desires for ungodly things.’ These are the ones that make separations, animalistic men, not having spirituality.”—2 Pet. 2:12; Jude 18, 19, NW.
5. Are Christians free to show no natural affection?
5 Nature too has strong ties which bind parents and children closely together in relationship. These include ties of natural affection which should exist between children and their parents. Christians cannot ignore these facts in nature. They exist as a boundary to their relative freedom. Of those who disregard this boundary it is written, “Men . . . disobedient to parents, without gratitude, with no loving-kindness, having no natural affection, . . . without self-control,” etc. (2 Tim. 3:2, 3, NW) Abiding by and strengthening these ties in nature will aid many parents to rear their children successfully in divine favor.
6. What restrictions are there as to relations with those of the opposite sex?
6 Another matter is that of proper sex relations. Limitations have been placed upon Christians to have no sex relations with persons other than one’s husband or wife. (Matt. 19:3-9, NW) Indulging in fornication and adultery is going beyond the set bounds. For those who are married nature calls for the rendering of certain dues that should not be withheld. “Let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife her due; but let the wife also do likewise to her husband. The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does; likewise, also, the husband does not exercise authority over his own body, but his wife does.” (1 Cor. 7:2-4, NW) The man must live with his wife according to knowledge of God’s fundamental laws of nature. The husband takes into consideration the biological constitution of the female, her limitations, her cycles, her vicissitudes, which greatly affect her mental processes, disposition and temperament. God does not overlook these feminine restrictions; neither should husbands.—Lev. 18:19; 20:18; 1 Pet. 3:7-9, NW.
STANDARDS OF SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP
7. What wise restrictions are there as to a Christian fellowship with those of like precious faith?
7 When persons become Christians they are brought into close association with other Christians and thus form a congregation as part of the “one flock” of God. (John 10:16, NW) A dedicated Christian is not called to live to himself but is invited to enter with his fellow Christians into the united service of the Lord. He is expected to use more than common decency in his association with others. He must use good sense and demonstrate his love for the brothers in his local congregation. (1 Pet. 2:17, NW) Jesus gave us a good standard governing such social fellowship when he said, “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.” (Matt. 7:12, NW) In fact, the entire Christian Greek Scriptures is full of rich counsel as to a Christian’s conduct toward his fellows. A Christian cannot be self-willed, have his own way in the congregation or show no consideration for the feelings of his associates. Definitely as to fellowship, we have a series of wise restrictions to our safe relative freedom. These limitations in the exercise of our free will work well for us not only as to our present happiness but also as to our securing a place in God’s eternal household organization.
PRINCIPLES OF TRUTH
8, 9. (a) What are true principles, and where are they found? Give some examples. (b) How are Bible doctrines formed? Illustrate.
8 Recognizing principles of truth and wisely applying them is the way of righteousness. A Christian ever walks in righteousness and thus shuns to exercise his free will by embracing that which is unrighteous. What, then, are principles? A true principle is a fundamental truth. Since truth conforms to fact or is that which is in accordance with the actual state of things, principles essentially are statements of basic facts. The Bible contains thousands of these principles expressly stated, while others are deduced or found in the book of nature. (Rom. 1:20, NW) Here are presented only a few. ‘God formed the earth to be inhabited.’ ‘Man is mortal.’ ‘The soul that sins dies.’ ‘Adam sinned and was sentenced to death.’ ‘God is rich in mercy.’ ‘Perfect life is given for a perfect life.’ ‘Life of the flesh is in the blood.’ ‘Jesus was made perfect flesh.’ ‘Jesus’ perfect life was a corresponding ransom.’ ‘Jesus’ lifeblood purchased man’s everlasting release from death.’—Isa. 45:18; Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:4; Gen. 3:6, 19; Eph. 2:4, NW; Ex. 21:23; Lev. 17:11; John 1:14; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 9:12, NW.
9 Like building blocks assembled according to pattern to form a building, so Bible principles of truth are assembled together according to divine pattern to form Bible doctrines of truth. Assembling the above principles together in the order presented, one has the skeleton of the important Bible doctrine concerning man’s freedom from death through the ransom provided by Jesus Christ. In this manner all Bible doctrines are formed from principles of basic truths.—Heb. 6:1, NW.
10. How has Satan built up his vast organization upon the foundation of his first lie?
10 Now observe what Satan the originator of lies has done with his first lie, ‘You shall not surely die.’ (John 8:44, NW; Gen. 3:4) He has used it to produce the following false unrighteous principle not based in fact or truth. “The soul is an animating principle . . . separate in nature from the body and usually held to be separate in existence.”a From this one lying principle Satan has put forth his almost universal false religious doctrine of human immortality, that man continues to have an existence after death. Just think, upon the sandy foundation of this first lie the Devil has converted additional lies into unrighteous principles and then used such false principles to build his gigantic organization of unrighteousness comprising false religion, commerce and politics! Thus by means of Satan’s many poisonous lying teachings and theories he has held captive the minds of men for thousands of years and has fed them on husks of lifeless mental food, which keeps them spiritually sick and chained in mental darkness away from the truth.—1 Cor. 10:21, NW.
11, 12. (a) To what is a Christian restricted as to his spiritual feeding, and why? (b) How does Jesus illustrate the wise and foolish courses?
11 Thus we see how vital it is for the Christian not to exceed his bound of relative freedom to delve in the doctrines of demons as expounded by false religion. Such exercise of free will brings one into the clutches of the Devil and puts him in bondage to unrighteousness. That one soon finds himself cast out into outer darkness; and how great is that darkness! Therefore a Christian’s life and thinking must be fed daily on teachings of truth which are gathered from God’s revealed Word of truth. Truth abides forever. Truth is indestructible. Basking in the sunshine of truth is freedom indeed.—Ps. 146:6, AS; John 7:16, 17; 2 Cor. 13:8, NW.
12 Jesus well contrasted the two courses. In the following he compares those who build their structure of faith on the “rock-mass” of truth with those foolish ones who build on the “sand” of untruth. “Therefore everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them will be likened to a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass. And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and lashed against that house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded upon the rock-mass. Furthermore, everyone hearing these sayings of mine and not doing them will be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and struck against that house and it caved in, and its collapse was great.”—Matt. 7:24-27, NW.
13, 14. (a) How does the basis of God’s laws contrast with the basis of many of man’s laws? Illustrate. (b) What happened to the principles behind the Mosaic Law covenant when God brought the legal force of the Law to an end A.D. 33 and thus made it not binding upon Christians?
13 Though many of man’s laws may be based on falsely conceived principles, laws theocratic as legislated by the great Sovereign Superior, Jehovah God, are soundly based on principles of truth. “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is truth.” (Ps. 119:142, AS) No legal fictions make up God’s law. For example, the divine law still in force to this day which forbids murder is based on the plain principle of fact that man is mortal. (Gen. 9:6) False religions teach directly to the contrary the fiction that man is immortal. So just as true principles are used to build up all the many Bible doctrines, so true principles lie behind all of God’s laws.—1 Cor. 9:8-10, NW.
14 Actually, each of the hundreds of laws comprising the Law covenant, as given to Moses in 1513 B.C., is based on one or more principles of truth. As a matter of fact, a multitude of righteous principles came to man’s attention for the first time when as a revelation the Law covenant was given to the Israelites. For this reason when God brought the legal binding force of the Law covenant to an end “by nailing it to the [Jesus’] torture stake” A.D. 33, he did not destroy the eternal principles of truth which came to man’s notice by means of it. (Col. 2:14, NW) These principles of truth found in the Law, still preserved for us in the Bible, continue to guide Christians in their way of righteousness. And so the sanctions of the Law covenant are as dead as the Law covenant itself and thus are not binding upon Christians today. “You are not under law but under undeserved kindness.”—Rom. 6:14, NW.
15. What are some theocratic laws that restrict a Christian as to his actions?
15 But there are theocratic laws outside of the Law of Moses which limit the area of the relative freedom of the Christian. Laws being rules of action dictated by the superior for the conduct of the inferior, the inferior is obliged to obey in these matters. In addition to the law’s forbidding murder, already referred to, the Christian is also forbidden to eat blood, must abstain from fornication, must keep himself from worshiping idols, must not forsake the gathering together in assemblies, and so on. (Gen. 9:4; Acts 15:20, 29; Heb. 10:25, NW) Then let us not forget the two great laws or commandments Jesus gave us. “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt. 22:37-39, NW) These and the many other rules laid down for Christians in the Christian Greek Scriptures from the true superior authorities, Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, are part of the boundaries of a Christian’s relative freedom.
REVELATIONS OF DIVINE WILL
16, 17. (a) What is a Christian’s attitude toward God’s will? Illustrate in the case of Jesus. (b) Give examples of God’s revealed will which greatly affect the activity and course of a Christian today.
16 The Christian rightly prays to God, “Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10, NW) By this the Christian agrees to limit his own free will in harmony with the will of his Sovereign Superior. This means that whatever revelations of divine will are made clear to him through the Scriptures, he is to govern his actions accordingly. We note this in the case of Jesus, who gathered from his studies of the Hebrew Scriptures and by the holy spirit which guided him that it was God’s will for him to die voluntarily in a sacrificial death to provide freedom from death for all faithful mankind. At the climax of his ministry, just before he was to pay the costly price by means of his death on the torture stake, we have record of his words, “Father, if you wish, turn this cup aside from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours take place.”—Luke 22:42, NW.
17 The Bible is full of the revealed will of God for his dedicated servants to perform. Diligently they seek greater knowledge and appreciation of His will and earnestly set about to adjust their actions in conformity to that right will of God. For example, it is now God’s will made manifest that His witnesses declare the name of Jehovah throughout all the inhabited earth. (Isa. 61:1, 2, AS; Matt. 24:14; Rom. 9:17, NW) It is also apparent from the Scriptures that it is His will for his established kingdom in heaven to proceed to break in pieces all the kingdoms of this old world in the battle of Armageddon just ahead. (Dan. 2:44; Zeph. 3:8) Who are we to resist the majestic will of God? Rather, we hasten to adapt our lives and affairs in full harmony with His will that it may ever be performed on earth as in the heavens.
RESTRICTED BY RIGHTS GRANTED OTHERS
18. (a) Who grants rights, and what five types are mentioned? (b) What is a duty, and what relationship does it have to a right? Illustrate.
18 Christians learn to know that their freedom is also limited by the rights granted by God to others. How is that? In every government, theocratic or man-made, the superior has the power to grant rights to individuals. Rights are advantages or additional powers of free action. Such may be in the form of (1) legal advantages concerning matters of particular interest, (2) special authority in connection with office, (3) general commissions, (4) privileges or (5) gifts. These rights may be created by law for the entire group, granted outright to mere individuals or brought into existence by covenants. Next, it is well to understand that for every right that is made by the superior there is also created an equal and an opposite duty. “Wherever there exists a right in any person, there also rests a corresponding duty upon some other person or upon all persons generally.”b Therefore, a duty is an obligation to do something or to refrain from doing something in accord with another’s right. For example, you owe a man $10.00. He has the right by claim to $10.00. You have the duty to pay him $10.00. If there should be any dispute about the above matter, then it is the business of the judge to determine which side has the right. He then orders that such right be honored and the duty rendered by the one who is found to have the duty. So we see how it is that our Christian freedom is restricted by the duties we must perform in accordance with the rights God has granted other creatures.
19. Compare God’s rights with man’s rights.
19 Jehovah God by reason of his being the Creator holds the highest rights in the universe. His rights or legal advantages are designated as sovereign rights by reason of his being the Great Superior in theocratic government. (Rom. 9:20, 21, NW; Ps. 95:3, AS) All lesser rights originate with Jehovah God and flow from his sovereign rights. (Job 36:6) These lesser rights granted to his inferiors, all faithful creatures from Christ Jesus on down to loyal man on earth, are termed delegated rights. In other words these lesser rights are delegated by God to his servants either as rewards for faithful service or as merely manifestations of His great love for his creatures. By way of illustrating the point consider the following impossibility. A creature could never take God to court over a dispute, because it is the business of the court to determine who has the higher rights in any particular issue. Since God would always have far greater rights on any issue that might arise, he would win the case every time. This all means that God’s sovereign rights can never be successfully disputed. Even Satan the Devil will be forced to recognize this great fact in his utter defeat at Armageddon.—Jer. 18:1-10.
20. What are the “rights of the poor”, and how do they affect a Christian’s actions today?
20 Following is a brief study of examples of rights referred to in the Bible originating in the various ways mentioned in paragraph 18. “I know that the LORD will maintain . . . the rights of the poor.” (Ps. 140:12, AT; Isa. 10:2, AS) These general “rights of the poor” were created by law under the Law covenant to grant the non-Israelitish strangers and the other poor in the land the advantage to help themselves to the gleanings in the harvest fields. Thus, ample provision was made by law for the feeding of the poor. (Lev. 19:9, 10) This law, being merely a shadow of greater things in our time, pictures, it seems, the right of the poor spiritually or those not true Christians to hear the message of truth as preached by the Christian witnesses of Jehovah. Jehovah’s witnesses, therefore, have the important duty to spiritually feed these “poor” ones of the Lord. God has granted them the right to hear of God’s mercy and to accept the truth for life in the new world. Who are we to deny them that right to gain salvation?—Luke 7:22; 14:21, NW.
21. (a) What is the right referred to in Ezekiel 21:27, and how does it affect a Christian’s actions today? (b) What is the situation where others are granted authority in God’s organization?
21 The Scriptures refer to another right which is interesting to examine. Ezekiel says, “This . . . shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” (Ezek. 21:27, AS) The right referred to here is that of sitting on the throne of Jehovah when he establishes his kingdom. This right is given by means of a covenant, or a contract, in modern usage. The terms were negotiated in the covenant God made with David. This contract was also known as “the loving-kindnesses of David”. In that covenant God said, “I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” (2 Sam. 7:12, 13, AS) The apostle Paul shows clearly that it is Christ Jesus that gains this right by covenant to the throne of the kingdom of heaven. This means that all Christians must accept Christ Jesus’ kingly right and have the duty to honor him as an exalted ruler in God’s theocratic government. (Acts 13:32-37; John 1:49; 1 Pet. 2:17, NW) This arrangement also applies to any others who are granted an office in God’s organization. They, too, receive a measure of authority, which, in turn, gives them the right (an enlarged freedom to act wisely in organizational supervision) to perform actions which the others may not perform. The others have the duty to abide by the performance of the one who has been entrusted with such theocratic authority.—Mark 11:28; Luke 19:17; John 5:27; 2 Cor. 10:8; Matt. 10:1, NW.
22. What rights come to Christians as a result of the commission Jesus gave at Matthew 28:19, 20?
22 Now for an example of rights granted by means of general commission. Before his ascension into heaven Jesus gave his Christian followers the commission to be ministers and his witnesses to the far corners of the earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” “You will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.” (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8, NW) This gave the dedicated Christians the right by commission to preach concerning Christ Jesus in every part of the earth. This places a duty upon all earthly rulers and the peoples in general to permit these ministers to accomplish their commission. To have this Christian right to preach Christ recognized by the Roman government, Paul appealed his case up to the supreme court of the empire located in Rome. Referring to this legally establishing of the right to preach the good news Paul says, “all of you being sharers with me in the undeserved kindness both in my prison bonds and in the defending and legally establishing of the good news.” (Phil. 1:7, NW) For this reason Christian ministers today insist on their rights to preach the Kingdom message in all countries. Furthermore, no individual Christian can prevent another Christian from asserting his right as a minister.
23. Discuss the rights which have come to Christians by reason of a privilege which they enjoy from God.
23 By the grant of privileges, rights are also brought into existence. To mention one, take, for example, that inestimable privilege of bearing Jehovah’s name. In the hearing of his faithful apostles Jesus prayed to Jehovah God, saying: “I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world. . . . I have made your name known to them and will make it known.” (John 17:6, 26, NW) The true Christian ministers, knowing the real significance of the divine name, Jehovah, gladly respond to God’s declaration where he says, “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God.” (Isa. 43:12, AS) This privilege brings with it the right to speak as one of God’s ambassadors and to represent him before the rulers and peoples of this old world society. Again a Christian witness of Jehovah is restrained from preventing a fellow Christian in exercising his right due to this privilege. This is because this privilege comes directly from God himself and does not stem from any earthly authority.
24, 25. (a) How does Paul show that the varieties of gifts bestowed upon the early Christians had rights associated with them? (b) What gifts are Christians interested in today? Can they maintain the rights associated with these gifts against their fellows?
24 Finally, the many wondrous and sundry gifts that come from Jehovah all carry rights with them. Consider how, in the days of the early congregation, God gave differing gifts to various Christian servants. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but there is the same spirit. For example, to one there is given through the spirit speech of wisdom, to another speech of knowledge according to the same spirit, to another faith by the same spirit, to another gifts of healings by that one spirit, to yet another operations of powerful works, to another prophesying, to another discernment of inspired utterances, to another different tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues.” (1 Cor. 12:4, 8-11, NW) Paul shows in another place how each servant blessed with such a gift had the right to speak before the congregation, and none could prevent him because of the right. “When you come together, one has a psalm, another has a teaching, another has a revelation, another has a tongue, another has an interpretation. Let all things take place for upbuilding.” (1 Cor. 14:26, NW) The above-enumerated gifts are not in existence today among Christians.
25 However, Jehovah, the Giver of every good gift, has not overlooked Christians after the days of the apostles. (Jas. 1:17) Following are just some of the gifts mentioned in the Bible, all of which carry rights with them. The truth itself is a precious gift that no one has the right to take away from you. Faith in God and Christ is likewise a gift of which none can deprive one. Then there are gifts of singleness and marriage, the gift of God’s undeserved kindness and the indescribable free gift of God’s goodness. (John 4:10; Eph. 2:8; Matt. 19:11; 1 Cor. 7:7; Rom. 5:15; 2 Cor. 9:15, NW) But the greatest gift in store for all faithful Christians is that of everlasting life. “The gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23, NW) When one receives that gift he has gained the prize of the right to life. He who has that right to life holds it against all others except Jehovah God, his Life-giver, who holds the higher sovereign rights. What a treasure that right to life will be!
SCOPE OF CHRISTIAN FREEDOM
26. Do creatures, spirit and human, have the same amount of relative freedom? Explain.
26 Man is not the only creature that has bounds set to his relative freedom. Since it is written that man is ‘made a little lower than the angels’, it appears that the area of relative freedom enjoyed by the angels would be somewhat greater than that of faithful man. (Heb. 2:6, 7, NW) Then there are the 144,000 members of the glorified Kingdom organization in heaven who are “sharers in divine nature”, which is a status still higher than that of any of the angels. So with like reasoning it must be concluded that these glorious immortal sons of God enjoy a vast field of relative freedom conformative to their new creation. (2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 5:17, NW) Of the resurrected Christ Jesus, the King, it is written, “He is the reflection of his [God’s] glory and the exact representation of his very being.” (Heb. 1:3, NW) Truly this exalted one has a relative freedom of great free-will action that must approximate that of God himself. Yet, in fact, Jehovah as the Sovereign Superior is the sole one who has absolute freedom.
27. Describe and discuss the scope of freedom God sets before his creatures.
27 Unlike Jehovah, all others have bounds defining their freedom to a greater or lesser extent, depending upon their degree of inferiority in status, all the way from Christ Jesus to faithful man. However, the extent of the area of relative freedom is adequate to enable the creatures of whatever status to give the fullest expression to their perfect lives with good to themselves and all about them, all to the glory of their Creator, God. To the individual creature the amount of freedom set before him is vast. Never in the ages to come will he feel frustration or a crampness of style. The area of freedom permitting free-will actions, both physical and mental, will never be fully occupied by the accomplishments of the individual of that status. At the end of the thousand-year rule by Christ, when God’s earthly subjects come into full possession of their ‘glorious freedom as children of God’, then they will commence exploits which will absorb every fully developed ingenuity, art and talent of the perfect man. These capabilities involving the mental, physical and spiritual powers of the perfect man will achieve accomplishments unimaginable in this time of world transition.—Isa. 64:4.
28. What is illustrated in Jesus’ case as to perfect man’s future scope of activity in connection with his freedom?
28 Briefly reflect how this was demonstrated in the case of the perfect man Jesus during his earthly ministry. At the commencement of his ministry, when he was baptized in the Jordan A.D. 29, the “heavens were opened up” and God’s spirit came upon him. (Matt. 3:16, NW) From that time forward he recalled all his prehuman experiences and spirit life. This meant that the brain of that perfect man was sufficient in size for the mind of Jesus to retain all the mental attainments and memories of his prehuman career as a mighty spirit creature in heaven gathered over a period of untold billions of years. This accounts for Jesus’ allusions to many of his personal conversations with Jehovah God in heaven which he remembered accurately. Never in the billions of years ahead, it is reasonable to conclude, will perfect man on earth ever attain the superbrilliant mental attainments displayed in the case of Jesus, God’s only-begotten Son. So if Jesus as a perfect man never found his course of life on earth frustrated or cramped, then for a certainty perfect man in the new world to come has an unending thrilling life of freedom and intense activity on earth set before him. Not only that but it will be a life of freedom with security everlasting.—John 5:19-21; 8:58; 12:48, 49; 17:5; Col. 1:15-17, NW.
29. Why and how should Christians value their freedom?
29 The call to Christian freedom has gone forth in all the earth. Great is the crowd that has responded. Many are they who have freed themselves from bondage in Satan’s old world society. But still greater in number are those who must yet be given the call, “Say to the prisoners, Go forth.” (Isa. 49:9) To the many who have been basking in the proper climate of theocratic freedom for several years the counsel is given, Be a genuine example to the new ones now embracing freedom for the first time. By your example in walking circumspectly as to the rights of others and in keeping bounded by the proper theocratic restrictions to our Christian freedom, you will aid the incoming new ones to advance to maturity. They will develop respect for God’s requirements and become more efficient members of the new world society. By conforming ourselves to the present Christian organizational procedures we will be that much better trained to become new world administrators after Armageddon. Continue proving your integrity as ministers of the good news that your goal of being granted the cherished gift of everlasting life on an endless paradise earth may become a blessed reality. So, young and old, value your Christian freedom as a gem of great price. Let no one rob you of it. Hold it fast.
The time that has passed by is sufficient for you to have worked out the will of the nations. . . . But the complete end of all things has drawn close. Be sound in mind, therefore, and be vigilant with a view to prayers. Above all things, have intense love for one another.—1 Pet. 4:3, 7, 8, NW.
a Webster’s New international Dictionary, Second Edition 1934.
b Black’s Law Dictionary, Third Edition, 1933.