by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth (Eph.2:12)
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but ONLY the one who does the will of My Father Who is in Heaven. On that day many will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and do many mighty works in Your Name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'." Matthew 7:21-23
If only those who do the will of Yeshua's Father, YHVH, are those who will enter the Kingdom of His Father - what does that say about you and me today? It is hard to imagine those words ever applying to us individually; but, if you and I take an honest look at our existence today, is our life lived in the pursuit of our own individual liberty - or His Will? Are we doing the will of Yeshua's Father as we go about our lives today? How do we know what His Will is? These words of Yeshua do not appear to be about what is involved for an initial encounter with Spirit (what most call "being saved"), but rather, what comes after that encounter (see Salvation and Eternal Life click on highlighted words to view scripture). After all, if these folks mentioned in this verse thought what they were doing to be in His Name - how is that different from what you and I think? If we set aside religious dogma for a moment and just concentrate on the Words spoken by Yeshua in the passage above and elsewhere, it becomes apparent the answer to these questions have more in common with the subjugation of our will to the Father's will than it does with a flawed interpretation of individual liberty. And, somehow, in the act of subjugating our will to His will, it causes us to be "known" of Him (see To Know Him).
Of course, to look at Yeshua's statement just for what the words say brings us in direct conflict with contemporary Christianity's doctrinal mantra that it is for "freedom's sake that Christ has set you free". In other words, a verbal acknowledgement of belief in Him sets you free to do and pursue whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want in determining your own purpose for living life, for being - and that belief, accordingly, comes with the conviction that we are doing His Will because our proclamation of "in His Name" is invoked over all our endeavors (as if that made any difference regarding the fate of those in the verse above - see what it means to actually be In His Name). What is odd about this Christian saying, however, is that it cannot be found anywhere in any translation of scripture - much in the same way the self-acknowledged atheist Benjamin Franklin's saying of "God helps those who help themselves" has worked its way into Christian belief, but is not found in scripture (see the difference between being Pure or Perverse).
When pressed, most will point to Galatians 5:1 as the reference point for this "freedom" saying - but, apparently, without actually having read it because the words of the verse say something entirely different: "Then stand firm in the liberty with which Messiah made us free, and do not again be held with a yoke of bondage (or slavery)". What these words say is, that once having chosen to follow the Light of Yeshua's Life, to continue to stand firm in the example of His Life that initially freed us from the grip of the bondage and slavery of darkness which leads to death - and do not choose to return to that corrupted state of being.
While the Greek word translated as "liberty" in Galatians 5 is eleutheria, meaning "the liberty to do or to omit things", it actually comes from the root word eleutheros, which means "free, of one who ceases to be a slave, not bound by an obligation". In other words, scriptural liberty means the choice to remain free of the bondages of slavery (see the Need For Atonement). When this definition is compared alongside other scripture using this same Greek word, a different perspective begins to appear: "While they promise liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage, into slavery" (2Peter 2:19). The Greek word, hettaomai (translated "overcome") actually means "to make less, inferior, to set below" - i.e., to embrace an inferior standard of life set below what is found in Truth. What we begin to see emerge in this scriptural definition of freedom is that, since all choices have consequence, by choosing to align our deeds to the pure standard of Truth found in the words of YHVH, exampled in the Life exhibited by Yeshua; we are kept free from the bondages incurred by choosing a sub-standard set of inferior deeds - the consequence of individual liberty, of doing whatever we want (Deuteronomy 32:4).
|"Let this mind be in you which was also in Yeshua haMashiach (the Messiah), who, though He was in the form of YHVH, did not count equality with YHVH a thing to be grasped and wielded, but relinquished that equality by making Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant , being born in the likeness of men." Philippians 2:3-7|
So, what is the liberty of Life the First Son and Elder Brother of the family of YHVH (Israel) exampled that we are to embrace and stand firm in? He voluntarily became a servant and we are commended to have this same mind of choice as He did. The "power (or right)" the Father grants believers in His Name to become sons of His Family in John 1:12 is the Greek word eksousia and means "power of choice" (see what it means To Believe). The freedom extended to us by way of the example of Yeshua's Life is the freedom to choose whether we become a slave to fear or a servant of Life. What is the difference? (see what it means Faith or Fear?).
a Hebrew Servant is not considered property
|"If you abide in My Word, you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free ...and the Word that you hear is not Mine but the Father's Who sent Me." John 8:31-32, 14:24|
|"Do you not know that when you surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you OBEY , whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with the Father)? But thanks be to YHVH that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness ." Romans 6:16-18|
Paul's use of freedom is the same as Yeshua's - that once freed, a daily choice remains to become a servant (slave) who executes the commands, the Words of the Father. You have been bought with a price (1Corinthians 6:19-20). What is the name for a person who claims to be of the faith but who does not obey the Words of YHVH? It is not "carnal" (a Christian moniker made up by Louis Sperry Chaffer only about a century ago). The apostles had a different name for a person who claims to follow Yeshua as their Master but has no outward signs of conformity to the Words of YHVH. They called this person a liar! (1John 2:4-6) If that description is unsettling to you, perhaps you would be well-served to re-read the scriptures which say that faith apart from deeds is not just immature or deficient - it is dead! It is the same as being in the grave. Paul describes that same state as being enslaved. If you want to know the truth about someone's claim to be a follower of the Way, an examination of his behavior will quickly reveal whose slave he is. (see Who's Word Is It?).
You might also notice something else about Paul's use of being a slave. I don't stop being a slave just because I become a believer. Acknowledging my guilt and accepting YHVH's forgiveness by repenting of my deeds relieves me of a life lived in fear - but being redeemed by grace does not remove the need for obedience. Liberty will not occur apart from liberation - but having been liberated does not grant me the liberty to follow my own heart by continuing in the corrupt practices that placed me in bondage to begin with. Grace redeems me from the consequence of sin that separated me from the Presence of the Father so that, in order that I may become an obedient servant in the Kingdom of the Redeemed today. Being an obedient servant does not save me - YHVH saves me. In other words, grace makes obedience possible. YHVH doesn't deliver me so that I can go off to heaven, He delivers me so that I can be His servant right here on earth, right now (Matthew 6:10)
It also should be noticed that permanent servitude is always a voluntary act. It is possible to be 'ebed for life but not because any rule, regulation or situation requires it. That is strictly a personal decision. It is a decision to place the control of my life under the authority, the will, of another. No man can force this upon anyone else, not even YHVH. But this is precisely what is called for to enter the Kingdom of YHVH - relinquishment of control over every facet of my life.
Abraham Went - Obeying What He Heard
Who or what we serve, what we give ourselves to is what we worship; it is what establishes our faith - thus the importance of having a standard by which to measure our deeds. Worship is defined in behavior - our deeds (Hebrew po`al, Jeremiah 25:14, Deuteronomy 11:16 / Greek ergon, John 3:19-21, Luke 4:8). What we serve, what we give ourselves to in time, energy and resources are defined as deeds. What we give ourselves to IS what we worship - and Yeshua said you cannot serve two masters (Luke 16:13). Scriptural idolatry is the worship of (by service to) something or someone above and to the exclusion of the direction of the Source of Life - the True Holy One of Israel. To worship Him, then, is to give ourselves to the way and manner He has spoken to us in His Words. The way we worship Him is the measure of our faith. How much of what you are giving yourself to today is at the direction of YHVH? How much of what you are involved in today is because it just seems good to you to do? (see what it means to be a Gatekeeper).
The last article, To Know Him, raised the question, "which of the Creator's Words (commandments) do we follow?" After all, scripture tells us His Will is revealed in His Ten Words and by keeping them is how we come to "know Him" and be "known" of Him (1John 2:3-6). Raise that question among just about any group of people today and the answers given will be of varying and different opinions - not to mention emotions. Even though YHVH made His Words very clear with His Son repeatedly upholding those same Words as His own and, in spite of the fact that there is no scripture to be found anywhere by YHVH, Yeshua or the apostles that definitively alters, changes or abolishes any of those Words; most who read them still tend to qualify them, excuse them or re-define them to their own understanding - picking and choosing from among them as to which of the Ten are to be followed (John 14:23-24, Matthew 19:17-19). The commandments Yeshua spoke of are the Ten Words of Exodus 20:1-17. Yeshua said He knew the Father loved Him because He kept His Father's Words (commandments) - all of them. If that was true for Him, do you think it might be true for us as well? (John 15:10, see Who's Word Is It? for more explanation).
|" For this is the will of YHVH , that by well-doing you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for maliciousness, but living as servants of YHVH ." 1Peter 2:16|
The occupiers of the Kingdom are those who follow the Way of the Servant. The core Nature of YHVH, exhibited in the Life of Yeshua is selfLESSness that, like a thread, runs through scripture from cover to cover of the Book. That thread is the one that looks upon the good of my brother as being more important than my own (see Torah vs. the Law).
...you are invited to His Banqueting House
As long as I believe that the objective of my life is my own liberty, I will be a slave to myself, easily manipulated by my current assessment of what is good for me. The will of Yeshua's Father is for you to become His Servant, executing the Words of YHVH - just as the Elder Brother of YHVH's family became His Servant for you (see Just As-Even So for an in-depth look into this dynamic).
|"For whoever does the will of My Father, he is my brother and sister and mother." Mark 3:35|
Please feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to share with you what the Spirit is uncovering.