“But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.
A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.” (John 8:33-35)
Relate: How can she be so stupid? The question was not a new one in Michael’s mind. He had mentally asked it time and again as one of his best friends, Ana, fell once again head over heels for another abusive jerk. He had been there time after time to help her pick up the pieces of a shattered relationship, broken hearts and even a few broken bones. Now he was listening as she told about how she was falling for another man who from any objective perspective was best suited to viewing life from behind bars. This would be her fourth such relationship in the past five years. As soon as she escaped from one relationship, she fell right into the next. It was almost as if she needed the abuse. It was almost as if she was a slave to it. How else could anyone explain such terribly poor choice in men?
Caleb sat down in the middle of the busy sidewalk and leaned against the building wall behind him. He folded his hands behind his head to try and stop their shaking. He needed a fix real bad. The track marks on his arms told a story of his fall from grace. Once he had been married. Once he had held down a respectable job and had been closing in fast on that six figure salary. Not he was a vagrant living from shelter to shelter. He had no friends. The only thing he lived for was that next hit and as much as he tried to resist it, there was no escaping the pull. The only question was how he would come up with the money before he grew desperate enough to try something stupid… again.
React: With some sins it is easy to see the destructive and addictive nature of its pull. Sometimes it is easy to spot how sin has enslaved someone. There is no question that apart from a radical encounter with the grace of God, they are on a fast road to hell. What about the sins that are not so easy to spot? What about the man who is addicted to the pornography he is streaming through his computer night after night? He knows he should stop, he wants to stop, but in the oppression of the moment sin has its grip and he cannot pull away. What about those sins that are deemed more socially acceptable. Even as your mouth pours out speech, you regret the gossip that is vomiting out. You know you should stop. You want to stop, but did you hear about what so and so did? I can’t believe it. Sin’s grip has its hook in deep and apart from a radical encounter with the grace of God, we are on a fast road to hell.
Fortunately, God specializes in radical encounters and mercy always triumphs over judgment.
Sin enslaves but You save. God, help me to never forget that truth. Let me never underestimate the power that sin can have to ensnare. It is so easy to forget in the moment how deep its hook can go. But even more help me never forget that You are freedom. Our sin, our slavery, our addiction is never hopeless. You are greater. Help us to live in the freedom You have provided at the cross. Help us to walk in the freedom that is assured through the empty tomb. You are the God who saves.