“One ring to rule them all!” This is the basis of Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The ultimate ring of power, once lost, has resurfaced and must be destroyed. If not the powers of evil will rule the earth. The prospect of world domination appears overwhelming. Everyone who comes into contact with the ring, desires it and the power it holds. Pretty dim view of human nature! Yet, it is a fairly honest assessment of society throughout the ages and especially today, with the “need to exceed”.
Allow me to introduce another statement, a twist on the aforementioned ring’s inscription. “One Rule to free them all!”. To many, the idea of obtaining freedom via a rule, seems an oxymoron. Yet, stranger than fiction, this is the Truth.
It started with Adam and Eve. In the midst of perfection, God posted one “rule”; “Don’t Eat The Fruit Of THIS Tree!”. One single, solitary rule. Pretty straight forward! God even explained the warning’s purpose. He told Adam that eating it would bring death. Freedom from death could only be attained through obedience to One Rule! Yet, we know the outcome, as the warning was ignored. Why? The need to exceed – to be more than God had intended.
Fast forward to the time of Moses. In the place of a single rule, God established ten. Each and every one of these commandments was for the benefit of mankind. Follow these rules and it will go well for you. Instead of one “do not”, mankind’s waywardness now required a set of both “do’s and do nots”. Again, people took them as suggestions, instead of ordinances for our protection and provision. Today, these timeless, proven rules are being removed from the very places which should be the epitome of their enforcement. If “Do not murder” and “Do not commit adultery” were more respected by those meant to enforce the rules, they wouldn’t be so rampantly ignored by so many members of society.
Move ahead again and we see how God’s ten perfect commandments have been multiplied, by men, into the thousands. Legalism has replaced obedience to God’s simple and rules. Man’s inclusions to God’s perfect directions have become so overwhelmingly impossible to follow, that people simply gave up trying.
Enter Jesus. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says; “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”. Hmm… Okay, what did He mean by that? Jesus never negated the importance of God’s laws. He is actually God’s response to our inability to abide by them. Jesus lived life the way we are meant to live. He was “tempted in every way”, including the abuse of power. Satan offered Jesus “power” and dominion over all He could see. Jesus declined.
Jesus posted a rule of His Own, requiring our attention and obedience. The sign reads; “If you love Me, you will follow My commandments”. I like His reasoning! If Jesus loves me enough to make rules for my benefit, I should love Him enough to obey them. But, what are they? Wait. There’s another signpost up ahead…. It reads: “I AM The Way, The Truth and The Life. No man comes unto the Father, but by Me.”. Singularity. Jesus is God taking us back to square one. “If you obey Me” is no different than God’s original rule of “Do not”. This is not the negative, domineering statement which some would have you believe. It is freedom in it’s purest sense. It comes from a heart of love. God is offering His provision and protection through Jesus, Who paid the price for our redemption. All we need to do, is accept. How much more freeing can you get?! And isn’t wonderfully freeing to know that we don’t need to decide which “way” is the best?!
I’ve checked the original Greek, and every translation I can find. Nowhere is this verse translated as; “A Way…”. Jesus sacrifice for our sins was a one time Gift from God. He doesn’t scatter different portals into Heaven, like something out of a science fiction movie, waiting to see if we stumble into them. One Way. One Truth. One Life.
That seems to be a hard rule for some folks to accept. “One Way” means you can’t take short cuts and go your own way. Why? “One Truth” is an absolute. The Truth of the matter is; if you try to go the wrong way, you wander into enemy territory. Nothing would please Satan more than to see us turn spiritually into what we thought was a safe entrance, only to find ourselves headed into a potentially dangerous situation. “The Way” and “The Truth” are signs which Jesus posted to lead us into “The Life”. That certainly sounds beneficial to me! That “Life” is eternal. But, it begins when you accept the One Rule which Jesus set before us. As Believers in the Truth, we don’t need to wait until “Eternity” to experience and enjoy the Life. All we need to do is obey His Rule and let freedom ring!