May 20, 2011, 3:30 PM
tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34) “Now the
Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” (2
What does it mean to be ‘in chains’ when physically our hands and feet are not bound? Well, we do not have to be physically bound to be in chains, just as one does not have to be in prison to be a prisoner. We can be in chains and be completely unaware of it because the chains with which we are tied are not visible, but spiritual. Spiritual chains can be powerful, stronger than real chains. Is that alarming? In reality, these chains are lodged in the social and spiritual compartments of our everyday lives, sometimes they are deep-rooted enough to become strongholds----fortresses even, difficult to bring down by our own strength.
The danger with these chains however, is that we have come to identify with them as part of our daily lives, harmful though they may be to our spiritual development. The influence they have on us is slowly destroying us. Having ceased to be obstacles, they have blended in with our daily routines. They stare us in the face but we are hardly upset at them.
Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, the whole of humanity has been ridden with sin. Until Jesus Christ came into the world to set the captives free, humanity was held bound by the evil one. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has appointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the prisoners.” (Luke 4:18)
Apostle Peter exhorts us thus; “----for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” (2 Peter 2:19b) Anything that we cannot free ourselves from has kept us bound to the point of enslavement. It could be drugs, sex (fornication, adultery), smoking, immorality, alcohol, lying or stealing, and any form of disobedience to God’s laws. If we are entangled by it to the extent that we find it hard or difficult to free ourselves from it, then we have been held captive.
Apostle Paul further emphasises the point: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey----whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness.” (Romans 6:16) Therefore we can be slaves to our different pastimes and occupations when we fail to break from their hold. When that happens, they become idols and take centre stage in our lives taking up valuable space that should have been used in developing the Spirit of God in us.
It will take a complete overhaul of the brainwashing the enemy has programmed our minds with to rid us of all the flimsy excuses and arguments that we put forward that do not hold water----justifying that we are not in chains. Unless we know the truth about the motives of the enemy---to deprive us from our inheritance, we shall stay in ignorance. “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) However when we know whose we are or whom we are it makes a world of difference how we carry ourselves or how we behave.
When we know the truth it will set us free. Our Lord Jesus who is the truth exhorts: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) During His earthly ministry, Jesus went about releasing those that were bound---by sickness, by adultery, by lack and all forms of oppression.
As He healed a woman that He met in the temple ‘who had been crippled for eighteen years,’ He justified His action when His critics were offended because He had healed her on the Sabbath---a non working day. “Then should not this woman a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (Luke 13:16) He left Jerusalem by foot across to Samaria (enemy territory where Jews were not liked) just to save one woman adulteress who had had five husbands and the sixth man was not her husband. (John 4: 18) The life of that lady changed completely to become an evangelist bringing a whole village to come to know Jesus.
Another woman ‘caught in the act of adultery’ that was nearly lapidated was saved when Jesus asked her accusers to throw the first stone if they considered themselves sinless. They left in shame and Jesus turned to her and admonished: “Then neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11) This lady was totally freed and became one of Jesus’ disciples. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
Anytime we do what is wrong in God’s sight we are bowing to the enemy. Doing his will is a sign that we have been taken captive. We cannot be in both camps---having a foot here and another foot there. We have to choose whom we are going to serve.
Forsaking all others, let us rather be slaves to righteousness. “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:18)