In Romans 8:28-29 Paul revealed this truth:
“A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”
Once when Jesus sparred with the Jews (John 8) – likely a mix of Pharisees, publicans and others – he offended them by saying,
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Vss. 31-32).
“We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” (Vs. 33).
Had these Jews forgotten the 400 years they spent enslaved in Egypt? Even at the time of this encounter with the Lord they were living under Roman domination. How could they think they were free?
Jesus went on to say,
“I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (34-36).
The Son of God is the answer to slavery!
But because these Jews were imprisoned by an ideology, which produced a pseudo-religion (Matthew 15:3-9), they rejected Jesus as the answer to anything. Their bondage was so complete that when the Truth personified stood before them, they wanted to kill him (Vs. 37).
Their big claim was, “Abraham is our father!” (Vs. 39) We have the right heritage! We are the elite, approved group! Jesus shot down this mistaken belief – he told them:
“If you were Abraham’s children, then you would do the things Abraham did” (Vs. 39).
Solomon reminds us, “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right” (Proverbs 20:11). How much more is that true of adults! These “free” and supremely righteous Jews (who had never been anyone’s slaves), were on the verge of killing God in the flesh. No, they were not children of Abraham; they were instead slaves of their own dogmas, ideas, and laws. They were not free.
In Romans 2:28-29 Paul addressed this issue of being “religious,” yet living totally outside God’s will:
“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”
He wrote the Galatians in chapter 5, verse 1,
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Paul repeated his admonition later in the same chapter:
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love” (vs.13).
We are not free to do whatever we please. Real freedom is having the power to do what is right. God provides that power through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-17), and it is by his power we put to death the works of the flesh.
So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (34-36). The pressure is off! Enjoy your salvation!!