[Papercut Press Publishing] 1999-07-05 - Real Freedom

John 8:36 If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

As many are on holiday today to celebrate our freedom from British rule, I thought I would offer a historical retrospective of Janet Jackson's freedom from sin during the Calmsburg revival of 1742. She was a 24 year old single woman when she came to faith in Christ. These are quotes from her account of coming to faith in Christ.

"I went to the kirk, but I paid little attention to what was said. I did not understand it, and I did not care whether I heard it or not. I was not grossly vicious. When I heard swearing, I was even afraid, and sometimes I reproved those who were guilty. But though outwardly sober, I had no love to God. I did nothing to please him-I was always provoking him; and yet I knew it not, my conscience being altogether asleep." (a couple of years pass)

"I began to think that my own minister (Mr. M'Culloch) must now be preaching better than he used to do. In the beginning of December 1741, he preached from 2 Cor. 6:1,2: "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."

"He spoke of people who heard the gospel as if they heard it not, and felt but slightly. I felt this as addressed to me. I saw myself to be as those described, and I was so affected with the thought as scarcely to be able to restrain myself from crying out. And now my unworthy communicating, my heart wandering in time of prayer, and my slighting of ordinances, stared upon me as enemies. I went home deeply affected." (two months pass and an awakening has begun in her church)

"Next day being Sabbath, I went to the kirk, which was so full that I could not get a seat, and stood with great difficulty. It seemed as if everything said were levelled at me. 'Some of you', said the minister, 'are perhaps grieved that God should gather others to himself and not you, and ye may on this account be murmuring against him.' This I said was exactly my case."

"I was made to see the evil of this, and to be satisfied that God might in justice pass me by, and suffer me to perish in my sins, and that it was an act of pure, sovereign mercy on God's part that he should save any; and my heart became thus humbled, because of my rebellion against God."

"On the 18th of February, (the next Sabbath) I heard that sermon under which so many were awakened. It was from Jer. 23:5, "And this is the name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness." I thought that sermon to be as a kind of new gospel to me. I had great satisfaction in hearing it, although I do not recollect that I could freely say, 'The Lord my Righteousness."

"Still my state, when compared with that of others who were so full of joy, caused me to fear, especially when, the day following, I heard a young man, James Miller, speak of his experience in a way greatly beyond my reach. I thought I would do anything to enjoy as they did."

"About the 11th of April, the minister preached from these words: "to-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." (Ps. 95:7,8) And that sermon proved the voice of Christ to my soul. I was enabled, from what I heard, to believe upon God, with all my heart, and for a long time my faith and love were kept in lively exercise. Since then, however, I have been cast down as well as lifted up."

So it was that Janet Jackson came to faith and found freedom in Christ in 1742. She attended church for years, and was under spiritual convictions for several months before she trusted and rested fully in Christ. With the ease that we often see people turn to Christ, upon first contact, and with so little thought and consideration in our day, it should be noted that Janet's struggle to faith was common and not an exception in her day.

Soli Deo Gloria,