John 8:32, 34, 36: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Most Americans understand and know the significance of July 4th, 1776. Even a brief survey of the history of the United States can show a person the meaning of this important date. As well, many French can also tell you the reason for July 14th, 1789. Both of these dates are important for one word, and one reason: Freedom. When one reads the Bible, it isn’t very long before the word “free” is encountered:
“And God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat” (Genesis 2:17).
When we see the word freedom, especially as we do in the key verses above, what does that freedom mean? From what are people supposed to be freed or given freedom? Also, what does Jesus mean by his words, saying that He can set people free?
Point number one: Everyone is a slave to sin: Everyone is a slave to one thing from birth: sin. And it takes many different forms. Sin, basically, is rebellion against God (i.e. saying “No” when God says “Yes”, or saying “Yes” when God says “No”). Because of the sin of the first two people, Adam and Eve, their descendents – the people of the world today – have inherited sin and the nature of sin.
We are basically born slaves to sin from the very beginning. Again, this sin may, and often does, take different and various forms later on. But the basic heart of sin, the nature of sin, is always there, and there is nothing anyone can do to break that enslavement. In fact, the more people sin and do the things they do that are against God, the deeper into enslavement they fall.
Point number two: There is nothing anyone can do to break free from the enslavement of sin: People try all sorts of things to try and break addictions. We try twelve-step programs, education, abstinence, self-help books, and even quitting “cold turkey.” But all of these attempts are useless without recognizing the fact of being enslaved to sin and understanding the fact of being powerless to do anything to break free from that enslavement.
Any attempt to break free from sin usually results in a return to the same thing again later, or falling into something worse. The book of the Proverbs and the gospels speak directly to this (Proverbs 26:11, John 5:14). We can do nothing to change ourselves from the slavery of sin. Even religion cannot free people from sin. Religion has been defined as “man’s attempt to reach God.” Despite the valiant efforts of the world’s different religions, the only thing they truly offer is more rules, and further enslavement. Nothing man-made can set people free from the enslavement of sin.
Point number three: Only Jesus Christ can set people free: The key Scripture above say something that no religious leader, no holy man ever said. Jesus promises freedom and eternal life to those who choose place trust in him. Jesus spoke directly about this freedom and how it can be gained throughout the gospels, particularly in the Gospel of John.
As stated earlier, everyone is a slave to sin, but Jesus Christ can and will set free anyone who comes to him. It is through his shed blood on the cross of Calvary, and the empty tomb that people can be washed away from their sins, and be set free to truly and really live. And not only does Jesus set people free, but he also remains with each and every one of his followers through the Holy Ghost, to help his people remain free and walk freely.
Conclusion: What are you enslaved to? What enslaves you? What do your thoughts and desires dwell upon the most? What have you placed as number one in your life? The Bible states clearly that anything and everything we place ahead of or equal to God is a vicious taskmaster, demanding more and more, and giving less and less. This is why there is so much addiction to so many different things in the world today.
The sad fact of these addictions and enslavements are that the people who follow them can be free, and be set free, but many choose not to take that freedom. This writer knows of the enslavement of sin. For years, he loved playing football and lifting weights. This writer, ahead of God, placed these two sports and activities, and, as a result, when the time came that they were both lost, this writer was shattered and broken.
Because of this addiction to weights and sports, this writer suffered under two knee operations – one reconstructive – a broken leg, a car accident, and crutches for the better part of a year. But when he turned and came back to Jesus Christ, things turned for him, and now, though physical scars and bad memories remain, the past is clean, clear, and forgiven, and the enslavement has turned to freedom.
What about you? Are you free? Does a substance, a habit, or a lifestyle trap you? You can be free today, if you will accept the freedom that Jesus Christ offers.
Prayer: Father, I pray today for those who read this. I pray that they may come to know you and the freedom you bring. Help us all, Lord, to be wary of the snares and enslavement of sin, and to know that there is complete freedom. I pray this in Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.