Bruce Jenner is an object lesson for my generation, a living parable of a failed philosophy of freedom, and the miserable and deformed end of it.
Who of my age doesn’t remember the powerful images of the Olympian Jenner as a kind of symbol of virility, accomplishment, potential and achievement.
In that smiling, confident, all-American face grinning from the Wheaties Cereal box, a generation demoralized by the Carter Malaise, and by the failure of our politicians to uphold the victory in Viet Nam, and the seeming collapse of our culture into moral anarchy, we were encouraged that there was still much good to come from America.
Here we are, 40 years later, and the same man(He is definitely not even remotely a woman), has become a miserable representative of the end result of our cultural and spiritual apostasy, into false freedom,i.e. autonomy. It is quite a contrast to look into that same face and see those tormented and conflicted eyes of a very miserable man.
Jenner’s is the ‘freedom’ of the space walker, who has been released from the bounds of gravity, and the atmosphere of the earth, yet he realizes that he is still “Bound” to the space-capsule. He is not yet totally free, and this bothers him. That one tether, with its air hose supply, has got him bound still to the capsule. So he takes out his space Scissors and cuts the last binding tether, and begins to float away, free of North,South East And West, and of air, water, human company, and of a way Home.
How can a father of four children, who has renounced his very masculinity, ever get back to normal?
Fortunately God provides the answer, for there is a book in the Bible dedicated to the subject of freedom, called the EXODUS, (the Way Out). But we must first learn a new definition of freedom. Autonomy is not freedom, it always leads us to the floating space man, or to the mad man of Gedara.
“Let my people go that they may worship me”(Exodus 10)
Exodus is a book of freedom. Even the name Exodus proclaims liberty. The ‘Exodus’ is out of slavery and bondage in Egypt. The God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob is the God of liberty. His purpose is to liberate the whole world, using a liberator people, Israel. But before Israel could be used to liberate the world, Israel herself needed to be set free from her servitude.
Therefore God would raise up a vessel to set them free, Moses. But he himself was in a kind of bondage. There is the bondage of the lash, and servitude, and there is the slavery to the lusts and pleasures to this world. Hebrews 11 describes the personal Exodus of Moses,
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.(Hebrews 11:23-25)
It was only after Moses was liberated , that he could be used to set Israel free. The Exodus of Israel was necessary, that they could be used to become the stewards of the truth that would eventually set the world free
Here are a few other aspects of true freedom that I believe that the book of Exodus teaches us;
* Freedom is to be seen as a gift of God..As Exodus 20:1 says , I am .the Lord thy God that has brought thee out of Egypt, the house of bondage… True freedom is always and ever the result of grace, it is a gift of the gracious God. Only through the antitype of the paschal lamb, by the precious blood of Jesus can we be delivered from the guilt and power of sin, which is the deepest bondage of all.
* Freedom is not an end in itself...”Let my people go that they may worship me” (Exodus 10:3) Freedom to do what? True Freedom isn’t an end in itself, God would set us free that we may truly serve Him, that we may be free to be what He created us to be in the first place.
* Freedom is internal…I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me…(Exodus 20:2-3) Note how the deliverance by the blood of the Lamb comes first, then the giving of the law. The idea is that true freedom is a gift of God’s grace and can never be attained by self effort.
But Exodus 20 makes it clear that freedom is internal. It’s as though God was saying to the Israelites, ‘I am the one who delivered you from slavery in Egypt, now do you really want to stay free‘? The truly free man is the one, who only worships the one God. The truly free man is the one who fears God and would never take His name in vain, the truly free man is the one who doesn’t want anyone else’s wife, or things. True freedom is an internal condition, this is why James calls the law of God, “the perfect law of liberty’.
After all, the Law of God is also the very law of our being, we were not created by God to worship two Gods, or to be “one” with a series of women. We can only really be happy and true to our humanity when we are ‘content with such things God has given us’, (10th commandment), or when we love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus sets us free to be what we were created to be originally.
*Freedom from the group morality…A person who has been truly liberated, is inwardly directed, and not subject to the changing opinions ,and shifting doctrines of the day. “Thou shalt not follow the multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.”(Exodus 23:2)
*Freedom is an ongoing call…For this one we go to Galatians 5:1 1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. We are all called to maintain the position of freedom, that came as a gift of the Liberator God. That means being vigilant to recognise and resist the various entrapments of false religion, temptation, conscience surrender, etc.
These are some of the marks of the “true freedom”, which Jesus promised and which is unto eternal life. In the next segment we will contrast this with the illusion offered by those who “promise you liberty while they themselves are the slaves of corruption”and which is dragging the world, especially the west, down to hell.