Let Jehovah Lead You to True Freedom
“[Peer] into the perfect law that belongs to freedom.”—JAMES 1:25.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN?
What law is preparing people to have true freedom? Who benefit from that law?
What must we do to be really free?
What freedom will all those who continue to obey Jehovah have?
1, 2. (a) What is happening to people’s freedom? Why? (b) What freedom do Jehovah’s servants hope to have?
WE ARE living in a time when people are more and more greedy, violent, and disrespectful of laws. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Because of that, governments make more laws, strengthen their police forces, and use cameras to watch what people are doing. In some countries, people have alarm systems in their homes, extra locks, and even electric fences to protect themselves. Many people feel so unsafe that they do not go out at night or let their children play outside by themselves. It is clear that people have less and less freedom, and this situation will probably not get better.
2 Back in the garden of Eden, Satan said that humans could be truly free only if they were independent from Jehovah. What has happened since then proves that what he said was a terrible lie! The more that people do what they want and not what God tells them to do, the more all humans suffer. Jehovah’s servants also suffer because of this situation. But we have the hope that humans will one day be free from sin and corruption and will have what the Bible calls “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) In fact, Jehovah is now preparing his servants for that freedom. How is he doing this?
3. What law has Jehovah given his servants? What questions will we consider?
3 To prepare his servants for that future freedom, Jehovah gave us what James called “the perfect law that belongs to freedom.” (Read James 1:25.) Other Bibles call it “the law that makes us free” (The New English Bible) and “the perfect law of freedom” (The New American Bible). When people think of law, they usually think of being controlled, not of having freedom. Then, what is “the perfect law that belongs to freedom”? And how does that law make us free?
THE LAW THAT SETS US FREE
4. What is “the perfect law that belongs to freedom”? Who benefit from it?
4 “The perfect law that belongs to freedom” cannot be the Mosaic Law. Jehovah gave the Mosaic Law to the Israelites to show them that they were sinners, and Christ fulfilled that Law. (Matthew 5:17; Galatians 3:19) Then, what law was James talking about? He was talking about “the law of the Christ,” also called “the law of faith” and “the law of a free people.” (Galatians 6:2; Romans 3:27; James 2:12) So “the perfect law” includes everything that Jehovah requires of us. Both anointed Christians and the “other sheep” benefit from it.—John 10:16.
5. Why is the law of freedom not too difficult to follow?
5 “The perfect law” is different from the laws of many countries. It is made up of simple commandments and basic principles that are not too difficult to understand or to follow. (1 John 5:3) Jesus said: “My yoke is kindly and my load is light.” (Matthew 11:29, 30) Also, “the perfect law” has no need for a long list of rules. It is based on love and is written on the minds and hearts of people, not on tablets of stone.—Read Hebrews 8:6, 10.
HOW “THE PERFECT LAW” SETS US FREE
6, 7. What can we say about Jehovah’s requirements? What does the law of freedom allow us to do?
6 The limits that Jehovah has set for humans are for their benefit and protection. For example, think of the laws of nature that control energy and matter. People do not complain that they feel oppressed by those laws. They are thankful for them because they realize that those laws are for their benefit. In the same way, Jehovah’s requirements, which we learn from “the perfect law” of the Christ, are for our benefit.
7 The law of freedom is a protection for us, and it also allows us to satisfy all our right desires without harming ourselves or disrespecting the rights and the freedoms of others. So we are free to do what we desire only when we have the right desires. This means that we should desire to do what Jehovah likes and what he requires of us. We have to learn to love what Jehovah loves and to hate what he hates. The law of freedom helps us to do that.—Amos 5:15.
8, 9. How do we benefit from obeying the law of freedom? Give an example.
8 Because we are imperfect, it is very hard for us to control wrong desires. But when we loyally obey the law of freedom, we can have some freedom even now. For example, a man named Jay was addicted to tobacco. When he started studying the Bible, he learned that his habit displeased God. He had to make a decision. Would he continue to be controlled by his desire to smoke or would he obey Jehovah? He made the wise decision to serve God, even though it was very hard for him to stop smoking. How did he feel after he stopped this habit? He said that he felt very happy and “wonderfully free.”
9 The freedoms that the world offers allow people to satisfy their desires. But as Jay learned, the result is that people actually become slaves to sin. Those who obey God’s law of freedom choose to be controlled by God’s spirit, and the result is that they are set free and can have “life and peace.” (Romans 8:5, 6) Where did Jay get the strength to stop his habit? Not from within himself but from God. He regularly studied the Bible, prayed for holy spirit, and accepted the loving help from the brothers and sisters in the congregation. These same things can help all of us to have true freedom. Let us see how.
PEER INTO GOD’S WORD
10. What does it mean to peer into God’s law?
10 At James 1:25, we read that “he who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists in it” will be “happy in his doing it.” The Greek word translated “peers” means to bend down to have a closer look at something. This takes effort. So if we want the law of freedom to influence our mind and heart, we must make an effort to study the Bible carefully and regularly and to meditate deeply on what we read.—1 Timothy 4:15.
11, 12. (a) What did Jesus say that shows that we need to make the truth our way of life? (b) According to the illustration on page 5, what danger must we avoid, especially if we are young?
11 At the same time, we must persist, or endure, in applying God’s Word. We must make the truth our way of life. Jesus said something similar to some who believed in him: “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) One Bible dictionary explains that to “know” here includes understanding how important what we know is in our life. So we can say that we fully know the truth when we make it our way of life. Then “the word of God” will be “at work” in us. It will help us to continue to make changes in our personality so that we better imitate our heavenly Father.—1 Thessalonians 2:13.
12 Ask yourself, ‘Do I really know the truth? Have I made it my way of life? Or do I still want some of the freedoms of the world?’ A sister who was raised by Christian parents tells us about her experience. When she was young, she believed in Jehovah but never really got to know him. She wrote: “I never learned to hate what he hates. I never believed that what I did mattered to him. And I never learned to go to him when I was in trouble. I leaned on my own understanding, which I now know was ridiculous because I knew nothing.” Happily, the sister later realized that her thinking was very wrong, and she made some important changes. She even began to serve as a regular pioneer.
HOLY SPIRIT CAN HELP SET YOU FREE
13. How does God’s holy spirit help to make us free?
13 At 2 Corinthians 3:17, we read: “Where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.” How does holy spirit help set us free? It helps us to have such qualities as “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23) People cannot be truly free without these qualities, especially love. The situation in the world today clearly shows this. After the apostle Paul listed the spirit’s fruitage, he wrote: “Against such things there is no law.” What did he mean? The fruitage of God’s spirit is not limited by any law. There will never be a law that would prevent these qualities from growing. (Galatians 5:18) Jehovah wants us to keep showing these qualities more and more and to show them forever.
14. In what ways does the world’s spirit make people slaves?
14 Those who are controlled by the world’s spirit and who satisfy all their selfish desires may think that they are free. (Read 2 Peter 2:18, 19.) But they do not know that they are actually slaves. Governments must make a lot of laws to keep these people’s desires and behavior under control. And Paul says that laws are made, “not for a righteous man, but for persons lawless and unruly.” (1 Timothy 1:9, 10) They also are slaves of their sinful flesh because they do “the things willed by the flesh,” and the flesh is a cruel master. (Ephesians 2:1-3) Like insects that crawl into a bowl of honey to satisfy their appetite and then get trapped, these people follow their wrong desires and become slaves of sin.—James 1:14, 15.
SET FREE WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION
15, 16. What benefits have we had since we became part of the Christian congregation? What freedom do we have in the congregation?
15 Associating with the Christian congregation is not like joining a social club. You came into the congregation because Jehovah wanted you here. (John 6:44) Why did he choose you? Did he see a righteous person who feared God? “Not at all!” you may say. What, then, did God see? He saw that you would be willing to obey his law and accept his kind direction. Ever since you became part of the congregation, Jehovah has taken care of you by teaching you from his Word. He has set you free from the lies and superstitions of false religion and has taught you how to imitate Christ’s personality. (Read Ephesians 4:22-24.) As a result, you now have the honor of being part of the only people in the world who are truly free.—James 2:12.
16 Think about this: When you are with those who love Jehovah with all their heart, do you feel afraid? While you are talking to your brothers and sisters at the Kingdom Hall, are you worried that someone may steal your belongings? Not at all! You feel safe and free. Would you feel that way among any other group of people at any other place? Of course not! But the freedom that you now have among Jehovah’s people is just a taste of the freedom that you will have in the future.
“THE GLORIOUS FREEDOM OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD”
17. How will “the revealing of the sons of God” help humans become free?
17 Paul wrote about the freedom that Jehovah will give his people on earth. He said: “The eager expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God.” Then he added: “The creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19-21) “The creation” means humans who have the hope of living on earth forever and who will benefit from “the revealing” of the anointed “sons of God.” That revealing will begin when the anointed in heaven help Christ destroy all wicked people and bring “a great crowd” into the new system of things.—Revelation 7:9, 14.
18. How will freedom increase for obedient humans? What freedom will humans finally have?
18 Humans will then have a very special freedom. They will be free from the influence of Satan and the demons. (Revelation 20:1-3) What a relief that will be! From that time on, the 144,000 kings and priests will use the ransom sacrifice to benefit humans until mankind becomes completely free from sin and imperfection. (Revelation 5:9, 10) After their faith has been tested, obedient humans will finally have the perfect freedom that Jehovah originally wanted for them, that is, “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Think! It will no longer be difficult for you to do what God says is right. Your body, heart, and mind will be perfect, and you will be able to imitate God’s qualities perfectly.
19. What must we continue to do if we want to have “the glorious freedom of the children of God”?
19 Do you want to have “the glorious freedom of the children of God”? If you do, let your mind and heart continue to be influenced by “the perfect law that belongs to freedom.” Study the Bible carefully and regularly. Make the truth your way of life. Pray for holy spirit. Benefit fully from the Christian congregation and the spiritual food that Jehovah gives us. Do not let Satan deceive you, as he deceived Eve, and make you think that God’s requirements are too strict. Even though the Devil can be very clever, it is possible not to be defeated by him, “for we are not ignorant of his designs.” This is what we will discuss in the next article.—2 Corinthians 2:11.
SOME EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED
The flesh: The imperfect human condition (Ephesians 2:3)
[Blurb on page 4]
The law of freedom includes everything that Jehovah requires of us
[Blurb on page 6]
We fully know the truth when we make it our way of life
[Blurb on page 7]
To be really free, we must work hard to have the right desires
[Blurb on page 8]
Humans will soon be free from the influence of Satan and the demons
[Pictures on page 5]
Do I still want some of the “freedoms” of the world?
[Pictures on page 5]
Have I made the truth my way of life?