I don’t want to besmirch any used-car dealers, but y’all do have a certain reputation.
I have sold a few used cars myself, but I have never had a used car that was “better than new,” although I have seen them advertised. And I wonder, how can a used car be better than a new one?
The new car is untried, and therefore has no reputation for its trustworthiness. But the new car does have new tires, new hub caps, new paint, new upholstery, new radio, new engine and transmission.
So, I wonder, how can an older/used car with old tires, old or missing hub caps, old nicked-up paint, worn and/or ripped upholstery, an old radio (probably on the fritz), with 100,000 miles of wear and tear on the engine and transmission, be better than new?
Sorry, Mr. Used-Car Dealer, but I can’t help but think that you are lying to me. Now, why would someone lie to another? (Think, think, think.)
Oh, no! Mr. Used-Car Dealer, you don’t want to know what I thought of.
Surely you are not trying to beguile me into spending my hard-earned money, which I have saved up for a reliable trustworthy car, on your “lemon” that will spend more time with the mechanic than with me or anyone else who might buy it.
I see that you have little respect for the truth, but how can you hate your customers and your own reputation so much that you would saddle any of us with your “money pit,” “lemon” car?
In John 8:31-32, Jesus tells us that it is truth that sets us free. If truth is the means of gaining freedom, then the opposite of truth is the thing that put us into bondage — enslaved by lies, you might say.
We might think of freedom as the opposite of bondage or slavery. When enslaved, someone else owns the product of your labors. Someone else eats the things your work grew and harvested.
He owns you and everything you make. You don’t have a right to the things you’ve made, or the money your work should have earned.
Freedom from slavery makes you the owner of yourself and the product of your labor. And, you have full right to the things you make and full use of the money you have earned.
You may have noticed similar ideas in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” “Liberty” here meaning “freedom.”
By selling me lies, the used-car dealer has put my life in danger with a car that is a moving violation.
I no longer have the money to buy a reliable car, because his lies have stolen my freedom, putting me into bondage of paying him and being saddled with his “lemon” car.
And having lost the product of my labor to him, I can no longer pursue my happiness of owning a reliable car because he has that money.
The truth would have kept me free. His lies were there to put me under his control, to gain at my loss.
But did he really gain? He may have sold this one car, but I’m going to show it to everyone I know, and everyone I meet, and tell them all where I got it, and who sold it to me, and expose all his lies in the process.
No one will trust him, after seeing how he gypped me.
So, what did he really gain? If he has a reliable car to sell, no one will trust him, and no one will buy from him. So, no one really benefits from lies.
And Jesus is right: Truth is the best policy for upholding freedom.
If you are inclined to include the idea that one at liberty is not subject to any external restrictions, we get into the idea of the freedom to do as we please.
This is actually not so much “freedom” as it is “freewill.” In our used-car dealer example, it is his freewill that caused all the trouble from his freewill to tell those lies.
A better example may be found in Gen. 2:7-17. God made man from the dust of the Earth; God gave us life; God planted a garden for the man; God watered the garden with a river of pure clean spring water; God put the man into the garden.
Now watch this carefully: God told the man that he was free to eat from all the trees of the garden, with only one exception. It is God’s garden, so they are God’s trees to give or withhold, and God withholds one.
The man tends the garden. The garden produces edible fruit. The man eats the produce of the garden and his labor. No mention of a subscription, bounty or tax for the man to pay.
God said he was free to eat of the fruit of the garden. This sounds to me like the very definition of freedom.
Also, look at the trees of the garden. From Verse 9: Trees are pleasant to the sight, trees are good for food and the Tree of Life is there.
The Tree of Life was permissible. The one and only restriction was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (vs. 17). And for good reason: It says eating of this tree brings death!
The Tree of Life brings life. The free man was permitted to eat of the Tree of Life. Yet he did not eat of life, he chose to eat of death.
In Gen. 3:1-6, the serpent slithers his way into the garden and asks Eve if she has read the owner’s manual for life in the garden.
And in verses 4-5, he tells her a bare-faced lie: That God can not be trusted! That God is the liar.
In verse 6, Eve talks herself into believing his lie. Let me paraphrase: When the woman saw, when she let this idea into her mind and thought of the possibilities, oh what wonders might be hidden there.
The trees of the garden are good for food, she thought. This tree is not so different; its fruit looks just as good, and how pleasant to the eyes. Such an attractive tree surely could not be dangerous.
And a fruit that produces wisdom? Who wouldn’t want that? To be as wise as God, by eating this obviously sweet fruit, from this beautiful tree.
Then her hand follows her thoughts and steals from God the forbidden fruit.
And her husband, not being leader of his family, not stopping her from her error, not evicting the serpent from the garden and knowing that the serpent has lied, Adam chooses to die with Eve rather than to live with God, and eats the fruit with her.
That was freewill, not freedom!
In your freedom, you keep what is yours; so, in my freedom, I cannot take what you have.
Freedom does not allow you to steal from another, even by subterfuge.
So your freedom does not allow you to steal my life (i.e., murder), which the serpent’s lies have done.
So, my freedom, or yours, does not allow you to have your own way while doing harm to another.
So, freedom does not allow you to lie to gain your own way at the expense of others, which lies always do.
Freewill, on the other hand, makes excuses for whatever your little heart desires, and encourages the self-seeking to lie to gain advantage over everyone else.
Freewill and lies do not make us free. They put us into bondage, as the one telling the lies is trying to gain an advantage over you, to advance himself at your expense.
In John 8:33, the people Jesus was talking to understood that freedom is the opposite of bondage or slavery. And in Verse 34, “Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.’”
God’s laws define the right way to live this life — in harmony with our fellows.
Sin is doing our own thing, having our own way, in opposition to God’s laws, and by doing so, doing harm to others.
So, by using their freewill to have their own way in opposition to God, Adam and Eve became slaves. Their sin placed them into bondage.
Do they live differently as slaves than they did as free people?
Read Gen. 3:16-19. Whereas they had the run of the garden, picking the fruit they enjoyed, with the sun, the trees and the river doing the bulk of the work — now, the words sorrow, pain, cursed, toil, sweat, thorns, thistles and death describe their lives.
Adam was created a free man and lived a righteous life doing what was right until he did that which is wrong. The free man had access to the Tree of Life.
Now, the rebellious man, disobedient to God, is in bondage to sin and Satan’s rebellion, because he did that which is wrong. In Gen. 3:22-24, God put him out of His garden.
To the one who has chosen the way of sin and death, the way to the Tree of Life is now forbidden.
Freewill has believed a lie, enslaved us to Satan’s rebellion, taken away our God-given freedom, cheating us out of life, giving us death in its place, and lost our home in the garden, giving us, instead, a life of toil, pain, and sorrow, all because we would not obey God, we would not live in His truth.
Freedom is not the absence of laws. God’s laws protect us from the harm we would do to one another. God told us the truth in His laws, defining for us the right way for us to live.
God’s laws protect our lives. God’s laws are truth. God’s truth sets us free from the bondage sin puts us in.
Freewill — wanting our own way, not caring about our neighbor, wanting what we want when and how we want it, not caring about what is right or good or just — wants lies and lawlessness.
But they want someone else to pay the price. And it just does not work that way. Lies harm us all.
The liar wants to put us under bondage to his lies. To have the believer of his lie to pay his price.
Now I wonder, what bondage do the lying politicians want to put us under? What bondage do the lying college professors want to put us under? What bondage do the lying fake news media want to put us under?
Only the truth can protect you from their lies. The truth will set you free!
PAUL FROWNFELTER of Henry County is a member of the local Volunteers for Freedom Tea Party. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.