John 8:31-36 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
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. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Slavery – it is a word that denotes horror to the enslaved. It denotes the idea of oppression and bondage, and no freedom to the one thus enslaved. No right, no liberties, no existence except for doing the will of the master.
We fought a war in the United States because of slavery, and the war ended and the slaves were freed. But the sufferings and privations continued, especially in the South, which was trying to overcome the ravages of the war.
We might find it hard to believe, but slavery still exists in the United States in todays’ world. Atlanta is a hub of sex slaves being sold, traded and abused here in the United States. We are becoming increasingly aware of this, yet we sometimes want to deny it in our culture, and suppose it is in other lands.
Some are slaves to drugs and alcohol. Some are slaves too bad decisions they make and keep on making and keep on making and . . .
Yet there is another slavery that no one seems to note but is associated with what was discussed in the previous paragraph – the slavery to sin. In John 8 Jesus was talking to Jews that denied that they were enslaved under the Roman yoke and denied being enslaved to anyone.
In Exodus 21-22 we read of laws and provisions wherein the Jews could sell themselves as slaves (or members of their families – sons and daughters) to pay off debts. (We might compare that to indentured servants – and this still goes on around the world today). So them denying that they were enslaved to anyone just wasn’t true.
When we discuss being enslaved to sin, we realize that may will deny that they are enslaved (just like the Jews in John 8). Yet they cannot live without the pornography, the liquor, the drugs, the lying, cheating, committing adultery. . . They become so enmeshed in something that may have started as a innocent flirt, or a dare to smoke a joint, or a dare to drink a beer. You name it, Satan will make the sin look good. It would not be called a temptation if it were not tempting.
As Jesus talked with the Jews, he discussed the fact that if a person commits the sin, and continues to commit the sin, he becomes enslaved to it. The sin is his/her master. Again, talk to those who are addicted to drugs, or smoking, or alcohol. They can’t live without it! Brothers and sisters; friends, honestly ask yourself as you look in the mirror – have you become enslaved to some sin in your life that you cannot live without? Only God can help you break the addiction.
Jesus told the Jews (and us) that he is the perfect Master – he knows what is best for us and following his truth helps break them (and us) from that which enslaves. When we switch masters, we have to do the new master’s will. We have to seek to please him! One cannot serve two masters, for we will hate one and serve the other, or hold to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24). Jesus emphasizes in the context of the Sermon on the Mount that if we try to serve God and material things, we will have a divided heart. We will have enough of the world in us to be miserable as Christians, and enough Christianity in us to be miserable in the world.
So, as we continue our study of John 8, Jesus states that if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. It is true that only Jesus can help a man or woman break the stranglehold of sin in their lives. But he must become master. We must seek to do his will and serve him!
The question comes home to us. Do we have secret sin in our lives that we need to let God deal with? Will we confess that sin, or will we try to hide it and deny it? Will we submit to Jesus as our new Lord and Master? Will we seek to do his will no matter the cost? Will it show in our lives? Do you trust him to help you as you deal with the problem of sin? Only he can help. Only he has the solution.
If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed! Ahh, blessed freedom!
“It is one simple fact: Christians hate sin yet love sinners! So simple to preach yet so difficult to practice. It appears contradictory. Some preach against sin so heatedly they cannot accept or love a sinner . . . others accept and love sinners to a degree that they cannot preach against sin. BOTH are wrong.
“To illustrate . . . I hate cancer but love cancer patients. There is no contradiction in this. Even if their cancer was basically self-caused. Even if cigarette smoking caused the lung cancer, the patient is still loved, aided, prayed for and served. Lung cancer patients must not be “shot” because we preach against cigarettes! Booze can cause cirrhosis of the liver but the patient still must be loved with compassion. Gluttony can cause stomach disorders; worry can cause ulcers. The point is this – illness is hated but sick people are loved!
“Compassion, urgency, ministry, encouragement must be given the sick. They have our priority. Jesus calls the sinner – not the righteous!”
DO NOTHING AND SIN!
Jeremiah 11:8 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone followed the dictates of his evil heart; therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but which they have not done.’
“The neglect of positive duty is just as surely wrong as the commission of overt evil. It is not sufficient to say, “So long as I don’t drink and swear, lie and steal, fight and kill, I am all right.” Take a soldier in the army. He doesn’t have to fix his bayonet and run his colonel through to be guilty of wrongdoing. He can just refuse to carry out the orders his colonel gives him. When commanded to stand guard he can just remain in the barracks. When the battle rages he can just lay down his arms and refuse to fight. What army would tolerate such conduct? Omission is as vicious as commission.
“Remember that the King said to those on his left hand, “I was hungry and you gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink.” He did not say to them “You were common drunkards, you were dishonest, you were profane.”
“I can almost hear the words of John the Baptist, “Now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.” The tree that is bad and does not bear fruit deserves to be cut down.
“In the marriage feast of which we read in the gospel (Matthew 22:2-14), there were many who would not come, and they perished because of it. You will not find one single statement made concerning them committing sin. They were shut out for not coming.
“I fear for those who omit the primary commands of repentance and baptism; for those who neglect the worship of God; for those who fail to observe the Lord’s Supper; for those who are too busy to pray; for those who leave the Bible lying about unread; for young people who have failed to honor their parents; and for older children who have neglected their parents in their twilight years; for those who have no out-going concern for their neighbors; for those who are ready with an excuse for every good deed which they have not performed; for all those who have simply neglected . . .
“Maybe we should preach loud and long, “You can do nothing and sin, and be lost.”
John Gipson Dec 10 1989 The Exhorter, Arab, AL