John 8:21-47; 2 Chronicles 2:17-5:1; Malachi 1:1-2:9
How do you free people who don’t realize that they’re enslaved? Oh, sure, there are people who are obviously enslaved even today and if we can find a way to free them, we would. But how do you deal with the people who don’t know that they’re enslaved? Jesus offered freedom to the Jews and the leaders, even though they were under the domination of Rome, were aghast at the suggestion. “They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.’” (John 8:33-34) Harsh words, to be sure. It’s not easy being told that you’re a slave. In fact, most people remember John 8:31-32, but don’t even think about these two verses. Sin appears to be fun, exciting, sexy even. Yet deep down, sin is nothing more than an ugly slavemaster. When we realize what sin does to us and we turn to Jesus Christ, we throw off that old slavemaster – or so we think. The allure of sin continues to call. We have selective amnesia – remembering none of the ugliness of sin and we so easily fall back into sin’s clutches. That old slavemaster welcomes us back. We justify our return to sin by speaking of our freedom in Christ. We talk about God always forgiving us, which He does – yet still we turn our back on His forgiveness to indulge ourselves in sinful pleasures that turn on us ultimately making us miserable. It is only as we abide in Jesus, follow Him daily and focus our lives on doing His will that we can know the truth and escape the clutches of sin. For the Jewish religious leaders, this promise of hope sounded like evil because they were so ensnared in their sin. For us today the message of Jesus still rings true. Will we continue in our sin or will we turn to Him? Jesus calls us today to abide in Him, to let His words abide in us so that we might know the truth and be truly free. Will you accept His call – His challenge – or will you continue in the way you have always done?
Lord, I claim to follow You and then fall into those sins I used to commit before I knew You. How easily I let the allure of sin put its claim on me. Help me to know You. Help me to let Your words abide in me. Let me see sin in all of its ugliness and see You in all of Your glory so that I’ll choose to follow You always.