Helping Prisoners to Secure Freedom
IN CREATING man in his own image God included the faculty of a free will. (Gen. 1:26) Due to man’s disobedience, however, he has brought himself into many forms of bondage. In their efforts to get rid of some of these bonds men have sacrificed much treasure and blood; such as in World War II, the goal of which was the four freedoms of speech, of religion, from fear and from want. But man, instead of getting more freedom, has since then been shackled by even heavier chains as an ever-increasing portion of the world becomes enslaved to the totalitarian monstrosity and the rest of the world groans under the burdens of equipping itself to resist aggression. Why such failure? Because, as the apostle Peter tells us: “While they are promising them freedom, they themselves are existing as slaves of corruption.”—2 Pet. 2:19, NW.*
However, it is not Jehovah’s purpose to always have the world part free and part slave. No, he is a God of freedom and so has given us the assurance that not only his spiritual sons but “the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God”.—Rom. 8:21, NW.
What kind of freedom does God hold out to us? Not absolute freedom, for by its very nature only One could have such a freedom, the One who is almighty and supreme, namely, Jehovah God. He alone has such freedom that none can question him as to his actions. (Isa. 45:11, 12) All others can have only a relative freedom, freedom compatible with their obligations to Jehovah as their Sovereign and Benefactor. He created us for his purpose, and the use of the free will that he gave us must be limited by that purpose. And since we are sharing this earth with others we may not exercise our free will to the extent of depriving others of what we want for ourselves.—Gal. 5:13-15, NW.
How is this freedom that God provides for us to be obtained? Fundamentally, its legal right is assured us by the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus, which assures us freedom from bondage to sin, Satan’s organization and death. Complete freedom from this threefold bondage, however, lies in the future and will be fully realized in the new world only at the end of the thousand-year rule of God’s kingdom.—Isa. 65:17, 21-23, 25; Rev. 20:5.
At present Jehovah holds out to us a measure of relative freedom. To realize this measure of freedom we must follow the advice and course set by Jesus: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31, 32, NW) What truth and understanding will give us this freedom? The truth regarding Jehovah’s supremacy and his purposes will give us freedom from the fear of man, from false religion and from selfishness. More specifically, it is the acquiring of an accurate knowledge of our relationship to Jehovah and what the boundaries of his freedom for us are. Appreciating those boundaries and acting in accord with such appreciation will give us the greatest possible freedom.
Having gained this freedom ourselves, let us use it, not as an excuse for moral badness but to help others to secure freedom. How can we do this? By cherishing our Christian freedom, by demonstrating its priceless value before all men, and by proclaiming ‘liberty throughout all the land’, by saying to the prisoners “Go forth!”
For details see The Watchtower, July 1, 1952.