Step 3. What do I really know? – Photoquoting

The German painter Anton von Werner (1843-1915) painted this painting “Luther at the Diet of Worms” in 1877. The occasion being portrayed is Martin Luther’s response to the Diet of Worms on April 18, 1521. A diet is a deliberative assembly of the Holy Roman Empire, and Worms is a city in western Germany. While there were a number of different Diets of Worms, the most famous one is this one.

What do I really know?

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was accused of 41 counts of heresy over his writings. These writings addressed a number of theological and church government issues. It is believed that On the Freedom of a Christian is one of those writings.

Luther’s response was 1) Some of his writings were well received even by his enemies, 2) if he failed to rebuke the abuses he observed, he would be a complicit accomplice in them, 3) he admitted a certain undue harshness of tone in his writings (such as calling Pope Leo X the antichrist in 1520), but only agreed to recant in response to proof of his error from Scripture.

Martin Luther’s response to his request to recant was as follows: “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason — I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other — my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

I consider Martin Luther to be a human being, even as we are. What do I really know? On that day in 1521, Martin Luther really knew something. And that knowing reverberates and echoes to this day. 493 years later, the Lutheran World Federation has 144 member church bodies (denominations) in 79 countries, representing 72 million Lutherans. That knowing reverberates and echoes to this day.

Alisa writes:

“I really know nothing,” is what I decided when I did this Step. I put this in clearer perspective in my Step 3 post “What Do I Really Know” when I stated that I don’t know anything for sure.

Imagine my delight when I came across a quote by Vincent Van Gogh, who said, “For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
Vincent Van Gogh

So I chose his famous painting “The Starry Night” for my Step 3 photo quote.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

What Is Your Freedom Good For?

Juneteenth. What is your freedom good for?Today, the descendants of American slaves, and friends of freedom commemorate the landing of Major General Gordon Granger at Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over, and that the enslaved were now free. American poet Langston Hughes wrote:

With John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, Negroes died.
John Brown was hung.
Before the Civil War, days were dark,
And nobody knew for sure
When freedom would triumph
“Or if it would,” thought some.
But others knew it had to triumph.
In those dark days of slavery,
Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom,
The slaves made up a song:
Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
That song meant just what it said: Hold On!
Freedom will come!
Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
Out of war it came, bloody and terrible!
But it came! Some there were, as always,
Who doubted that the war would end right,
That the slaves would be free,
Or that the union would stand,
But now we know how it all came out.
Out of the darkest days for people and a nation,
We know now how it came out.
There was light when the battle clouds rolled away.
There was a great wooded land,
And men united as a nation.

What is your freedom good for?

But what is freedom for? Jesus taught his disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 25:25-28, New International Version)

The 16th-century German Christian Martin Luther seems to me to echo that vibration in his treatise “On the Freedom of the Christian,” when he writes

“A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to every one.”

I consider Steps to Knowledge to confirm, in its own way, the truth of the words of Jesus, and the truth expressed by Martin Luther. The word “freedom” is first mentioned in Step 52, “I am free to find the source of my Knowledge.” The word “freedom” appears 16 times in three different steps between Step 52 and Step 93. It appears 13 times in Step 94, “My freedom is to find my purpose.” The word “purpose” is one of the major themes of Steps to Knowledge. The word “purpose” appears 29 times in 16 different steps between Step 12 and Step 93. It first appears in a step in Step 71, “I am here to serve a greater purpose.”

I consider Step 94 to be watering the seed sown in Step 52:

“What value can freedom possibly have except to enable you to find your purpose and to fulfill it? Without purpose, freedom is merely the right to be chaotic, the right to live without external restraint. But without external restraint, you will merely act out the harshness of your internal restraint. Is this an improvement? Overall it is not an improvement, though it can lead to opportunities for self-discovery.”

In studying Steps to Knowledge, we are getting free to be our true selves, true selves which are not apart from life. We are getting free to find our purpose. Will we succeed? All I know is that we’re working on it.

What is your freedom good for?

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

How Will You Use Your Freedom?

 Martin Luther asked "As a Christian, how will you use your freedom?"

As I pondered Step 57 of Steps to Knowledge, “Freedom is with me,” I recalled Martin Luther‘s treatise “On the Freedom of a Christian,” written in 1520.  Many Christians are familiar with this work.  There is a quotation from this work that many people remember:

“A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to every one.”

Martin Luther used the words of Paul to elaborate on this seeming paradox.

“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (I Corinthians 9:19-23, New International Version)

How will you use your freedom?

Freedom is never just freedom from some restricting influence or circumstance.  Freedom is freedom to be someone, freedom to do something.  But what?

The word “freedom” isn’t mentioned in Steps to Knowledge until Step 52 “I am free to find the source of my Knowledge.”  What does Steps to Knowledge say we should get free from?

“You who have lived under the weight of your own imagination, you who have been a prisoner to your own thoughts and to the thoughts of others, you who have been intimidated and threatened by the appearances of this world now have hope, for true freedom abides within you.”

Other things to get free from in Step 57 are unforgiveness from the past, anxiety over the future, and avoidance of the present.

But what are we getting free to?  Step 52 offers a brief description:

“What other freedom is free except that which enables you to receive the gift of your true life? All other freedom is the freedom to be chaotic, the freedom to harm yourself. The great freedom is to find your Knowledge and to allow it to express itself through you.”

In studying Steps to Knowledge, we are getting free to be our true selves, true selves which are not apart from life.  We are getting free to fulfill the mission we have in life.  Will we succeed?  All I know is that we’re working on it.

What are you getting free from?  What are you getting free to?  How will you use your freedom?

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.