Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Lent at Mississippi Abbey
Again, the gospel of John emphasizes the contrast between living in relationship to God and living apart from that. Today the contrast is drawn in terms of freedom.
In the Old Testament, sin is understood as a break of the covenant with God. The covenant made God the God of Israel and the Israelites were His people. The covenant was an external reality to them. The covenant was founded on God freeing them from Egypt, from slavery.
In the New Testament, in today’s gospel, it is an interior reality. No longer are the Israelites God’s people; now the relationship is to God as Father. Through relationship with Christ in baptism they become not just “a people”, but adopted children. Now they are “truly free.”
The essence of sin is breaking this relationship. It is the essence because the people break it freely. That freedom is taken captive, as I recall, by that which gives us an immediate effect (satisfaction) that can be controlled; obtained again. It is short-term and easily lost. That’s a reason why it is not the truth. It eventually leads to anxiety and painful self-awareness. When the heart is set on something finite, eventually it will be broken. That’s when we die in our sin.
The freedom Christ offers is enduring; it is eternal like the Father. Thus, it is true. Freedom and Truth must go together. The heart can be securely set on it. I am again reminded of a verse from a Bob Dylan song: “Freedom’s just around the corner for you, but with truth so far off, what good would it do?”