PERFECT FREEDOM

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Opening Prayer

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statues, and I will observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life.

-Psalm 119:33-35,40

TEXT 

John 7:25-36 NJB

Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have recognized that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from.’

Then, as Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he cried out: You know me and you know where I came from. Yet I have not come of my own accord: but he who sent me is true; You do not know him, but I know him because I have my being from him and it was he who sent me. They wanted to arrest him then, but because his hour had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.

There were many people in the crowds, however, who believed in him; they were saying, ‘When the Christ comes, will he give more signs than this man has?’ Hearing that talk like this about him was spreading among the people, the Pharisees sent the Temple guards to arrest him.

Then Jesus said: For a short time I am with you still; then I shall go back to the one who sent me. You will look for me and will not find me; where I am you cannot come.

So the Jews said to one another, ‘Where is he intending to go that we shall not be able to find him? Is he intending to go abroad to the people who are dispersed among the Greeks and to teach the Greeks? What does he mean when he says: “You will look for me and will not find me; where I am, you cannot come?” ‘

 

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And if the Lord hath already fulfilled his word, if he hath already ‘written his law in thy heart’, then ‘stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made thee free.’  Thou art not only made free from Jewish ceremonies, from the guilt of sin and the fear of hell (these are so far from being the whole, that they are the least and lowest part of Christian liberty), but what is infinitely more, from the power of sin, from serving the devil, from offending God. O stand fast in this liberty, in comparison of which all the rest is not even worthy to be named. Stand fast in loving God with all thy heart and serving him with all thy strength. This is perfect freedom; thus to keep his law and to walk in all commandments blameless…Abhor sin far more than death or hell; abhor sin itself far more than the punishment of it. Beware of the bondage of pride, of desire, of anger; of every evil temper or word or work. ‘Look unto Jesus’, and in order thereto ‘look’ more and more ‘into the perfect law, the law of liberty’, and ‘continue therein’; so shalt thou daily ‘grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

— John Wesley, “The Original, Nature, Properties, and Use of the Law”

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