“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:31-36 ESV).
This is a hallowed day in the United States of America. July 4th marks the day when the USA became an independent nation, no longer under the thumb of any other country. It is a day in which we celebrate with parties, barbecued food and fireworks. I can’t think of this day without immense gratitude to the many men and women who fought to make us free, keep us free, and liberate others from oppressive regimes throughout the world. Thank you, veterans!
But there is another independence day that far outshines the fireworks–the day that we were released from our bondage to sin.
Jesus had a way of invoking thought in those who heard Him. This created a sharp line of demarcation. You either loved Him or hated Him; you couldn’t really ignore Him. This is what happened when Jesus was speaking with some Jews who believed in Him. He told them that the truth would set them free if they stayed in God’s Word. Their first thought was that they had never been enslaved (apparently they forgot about Egypt, Babylon and Rome). Jesus pointed out to them that the slavery that bound them didn’t come form another nation, it came from sin. They still didn’t get the picture.
Paul tells us that “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23 ESV). That means that if we are not living in faith as Jesus’ disciples, everything we do is sin. that’s the point that Jesus was trying to make to them. But they still didn’t get it. Jesus continued to press the issue and they got angry. Remember, these are people who believed in Him!!! But Jesus had a point to make. They didn’t like being called slaves to sin. But they were so caught up in the word slave that they completely missed the word free.
This freedom that Jesus was offering had nothing to do with slavery to other nations. It had everything to do with sin. These people understood what it meant to be under the law, but they didn’t recognize that this was slavery! They could never keep the whole law. They could never be holy as God is holy. For “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.”
And this is the same struggle that some of us feel today. We try so hard in our own strength to be holy, and find that we always fall short. But Jesus was (and is!) offering freedom from this outward law of sin. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” This is a freedom from the power of sin over us. It is a freedom to not sin.
If you don’t already know this freedom in Christ, please message me and I will be more than happy to help you enjoy the liberating power of Christ!