The Truth Will Set You Free!
the Father, the Son and... the Holy Tarantula???

by Graham Pockett

Scripture quoted is from the NIV Bible, not because it is ‘best’ but because it is in modern English. If in doubt, please read the quotations in various translations. You might like to read Why I Quote The NIV Bible.

We glibly use the expression "the truth will set you free" but this may not be correct in all circumstances. It isn't just the truth that sets you free, it is knowing the truth and then applying it that sets you free.

The truth is there at all times – whether or not we recognize it – but unless we know the truth, and apply it, truth itself is powerless.

For example, after September 11, 2001 the world knew that terrorists could, and would, turn jumbo jets into bombs. The truth had existed during the years of planning, but the public wasn't aware of it. Therefore it didn't serve any good, and it certainly didn't help the occupants of the Twin Towers or the passengers in the planes.

It is knowing the truth, and then applying it, that sets us free.

Jesus said in John 8:31 and 32 that...

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

To understand the truth of the Gospels you must:

(a) believe that Jesus is the son of God, the Messiah, the Savior, and

(b) hold to the teachings of Jesus so that you become His followers – more than just a student who learns about His teachings, but a follower who emulates Him in all that you do

In verse 34, Jesus tells us "everyone who sins is a slave to sin" so, if you are a slave, then you are not free. In verse 36 He says that if he sets you free, then you will be free indeed.

Our freedom therefore requires that if we believe that Jesus is our savior, and hold to His teachings in all things, then His truth will set us free.


“one of the biggest problems in the church today ... is that we are lazy”

One of the biggest problems in the church today – and probably in the church over the past 2,000 years – is that we are lazy. We sit back and listen the teachings of Jesus as interpreted by someone else. Maybe that person is accurate, maybe he is inaccurate, but we will never know unless we emulate the Bereans (Acts 17:11) and check the Scripture of everything we are taught.

It is obvious that not everything in the Bible is black or white – there are many gray areas which, in my opinion, are there deliberately.

You can believe in Eternal Security (often called "Once saved, Always Saved") or you can believe in Conditional Security, where you can walk away from God and lose your inheritance. There are arguments both for and against both doctrines and one could be excused for accepting the teachings of one viewpoint and believe, with faith, that the opposing viewpoint was wrong.

Other areas are more clear cut, but some teachers work on the principle that if it doesn't cost you your salvation, then getting involved in discussion or debate about these other areas is pointless.

I disagree.

How many times have I heard our Counselor, the third part of the Trinity, called the Holy Ghost instead of the Holy Spirit. Does it really matter if He is called a ghost or a spirit? I believe it does. Both words have very specific meanings – meanings which are not the same. A ghost is "the apparition of a deceased person", and a spirit means "breath", or "soul".


“...we could also call Him the Holy Tarantula”

As our Counselor is not "the apparition of a dead person", calling Him the Holy Ghost is not only wrong, but an insult. If it is OK to call Him the Holy Ghost, then we could also call Him the Holy Tarantula, or something equally silly. If a ghost is the same as a spirit then why isn't a tarantula the same as a spirit?

English is English, and words have specific meanings so that we can accurately communicate with each other. Laziness in not choosing the correct word can lead to a speaker's words being misinterpreted.

The argument that "it doesn't matter, we all know what we mean" is false, and quite dangerous. This is how heresies get started.

Too much of the Christian faith is based on laziness or mis-interpretation. How many times have you heard someone quote Scripture out of context to prove a point. Is this "truth"? Of course not, Scripture can only be interpreted in its correct context and cultural setting.

How many times have we heard someone preach on, say, the Ten Commandments, and extol us to obey them? Is that Scriptural? Are we bound by the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20? If we are, then where does it say that we should only obey those Commandments, and not all 613 Laws of the Old Testament? Where does one draw the line and say: Christians should obey these Laws, but they don't have to obey those Laws?

When asked which was the greatest Commandment, Jesus answered by saying:

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. [Matthew 22:37-40 NIV]

While those two Commandments can be seen as a summation of almost all of the Ten Commandments, these are the Commandments that Christians are told we must obey. Jesus did not say we should obey all 10, He simply gave us two.

This was the same quandary put to the Apostles as they started to reach Gentiles, or non-Jews. What part of the old Law should a non-Jewish Christian obey? In Acts 15:19-20 James says:

"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood."


“instead of having to obey all 613 Laws of the Old Testament, we are given just six”

So, instead of having to obey all 613 Laws of the Old Testament, we are given just six – two from Jesus and four from the Apostles:
  • love God,
  • love your neighbor,
  • don't eat food offered to idols,
  • avoid sexual immorality,
  • don't eat meat from strangled animals, and
  • don't eat meat with blood in it.
Therefore, there are over 600 Laws which we do NOT have to obey – like having to tithe, like avoiding the meat of "unclean" animals (like pigs, or shellfish), like circumcising baby boys, like reciting the Shema (the centerpiece of all morning and evening Jewish prayer services), like sacrificing animals, like holding the Sabbath sacred, etc.

Any Gentile Christian preacher who demands that we obey all, or some, of the 613 Levitical Laws of the Old Testament – except those outlined above – is teaching heresy, even though it may, or may not, affect someone's salvation.

If they are not teaching the truth of the Word they are not setting the captives free.

A Christian may freely choose to obey or follow any of the old Law (tithing, Sabbath worship, etc) but that is his or her choice and has nothing to do with legalism or the old Law – it is a freewill choice to follow those old rules.

For example, many Christians support tithing, not because they must but because it is a good guide on what to give to the Church. To do so out of compunction is wrong, to do so out of a desire to give generously is good.

In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul said:

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."


“many church ministries are relying on the blackmail of tithing”

Tithing, as part of the old Law, is giving "under compulsion", but giving generously as a "cheerful giver" is what God wants from us. It isn't even about the money but about (a) being generous (something Christians are told to do) and (b) supporting the ministry so that it can reach out to all peoples in all nations.

Unfortunately, many church ministries are relying on the blackmail of tithing to ensure they have sufficient income to pay their (self imposed) bills and are not "trusting in the Lord" (Proverbs 3:5) to supply their needs.

The Bible is full of truths, but you must be careful that the "truth" you follow is a Biblical truth and not an interpretation from man, specially a man with an agenda. Once you know what the Bible actually says, then you can apply that truth to your life.

Therefore, it is knowing the truth and then applying it that sets you free. To find the truth in the Word, remember the Bereans and study your Bible. Check everything you are taught and make sure that this is really what the Bible says.

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I pray you have found this article interesting and I would be pleased to read any comments you may have. However, my workload is such that I may not be able to respond to all mail. Address any comments to Graham Pockett.

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All of Graham’s Christian writings (see below) can be download as a set of archived text files GrahamsWriting.zip (you will need an unzipping tool – like the free Stuffit Expander – to extract the separate documents from this archive).

 


Graham’s Christian writing:
"Graham Pockett doesn't mince any words, but he writes with a kind heart. If you have questions about such things as "once saved, always saved", or why so many different ideas can come from the same scripture, or how much what we see and do affects us as spiritual beings, you'll find much to think about here."  from This Christian Life
Graham Pockett
Download these articles:
GrahamsWriting.zip
  • The Key To Heaven  (an analogy about commitment)
  • I Am A Cynic; Therefore I Am A Christian
  • Evolution – a statistical question mark?
  • “Once Saved Always Saved” – a dangerous delusion?
  • Who is my Neighbor? – featuring "The Parable of the Good Muslim"
  • Bashing The Bible – misusing & abusing Scripture
  • Two Billion Doctrines – the strange religion called Christianity
  • Does God Ever Change His Mind? – Calvin would turn in his grave!
  • New Wine In An Old Skin – the problem of legalism in the church today
  • Are You Hard Boiled, Or Soft & Runny? – doctrines are like an egg shell
  • The Bible is an "iffy" book – a look at the conditional promises of God
  • Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? – what did Jesus really look like?
  • The Truth Will Set You Free! – the Holy Tarantula???
  • Growing the Seed of Faith – so it doesn't wither and die
  • We Don't See The Clean, Just The Dirt – judgement and forgiveness
  • Why I Quote The NIV Bible – is it an heretical Bible?
  • "Omissions" from the NIV Bible – a look at 17 missing verses
  • Do You Believe In Miracles? – you do when they happen to you!
  • “Why Didn’t God Answer My Prayer For A Miracle?” – my response
  • Christian Concepts – the cavern of life  (an analogy)
  • Christian Concepts – the three crosses  (an analogy)
  • Christian Concepts – we are what we eat
  • Christian Concepts – when are we saved?  (an analogy)
  • Christian Concepts – when we are saved, part 1  ...part 2


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    © Graham Pockett
    Last Updated: Monday, November 24, 2014