Enslaved no longer

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’ ” — John 8:34-36

 

Sinners do not properly understand the principle of being enslaved to sin. They know nothing other than slavery. They have found contentment and even joy in slavery. They have convinced themselves that sin is the inevitable and preferred state of mankind. By committing themselves to slavery, though, they are prohibiting themselves from living the life that they were, in the most literal of senses, born to live.

Jesus offers us freedom. He, the Son, living completely apart from sin and its master (John 14:30), enjoyed full and unfettered fellowship with the heavenly Father. “I and the Father are one,” He famously claimed in John 10:30. His contemporaries hated Him for this claim, even making preparations to stone Him on the spot; they resented someone who claimed to enjoy that level of association with God.

Jesus does not promise to make us “one with God” in the same sense that He was and is. But He does promise to free us from the battle that we have been waging (and losing) with sin since the fall. Romans 6:23 encapsulates it beautifully — “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Not only are we free from sin itself, we are also free from the Law of Moses, which Paul calls a “yoke of slavery” in Galatians 5:1. The Law itself was good (Romans 7:16), as all creations of God are; it showed us God’s expectations, identified sin, and condemned those who fell short. Unfortunately, the ultimate conclusion we reach while serving under the Law is that no one is perfect, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Earnest people of faith persevere, desperately hoping somehow that their good behavior will be counted to them as righteousness. And, as was the case with Abraham and David (Romans 4:1-8), it can be and will be — but only through the blood Jesus shed for us all at the cross.

When we come to Him in trusting and obedient faith, we receive His gift of grace. And immediately we feel an incredible burden lifted from our shoulders. The fight we had been losing was now a fight that we could and would win. With Jesus showing us how to “walk in the Light” (1 John 1:7), we find ourselves no longer slaves. The truth has made us free (John 8:32). And as long as we live as free people, “born of God” (1 John 3:9), we will stay free.