Very rarely do prisoners actually escape, nor do they even try. They are in prison with the intention of staying there. Someone has to set them free.
We all struggle with patterns of sin, causing us live like trapped prisoners. My husband has been no stranger to that. I recall him saying with certainty a few years back, “This will always be my struggle.” Praise God that he has granted him a deeper understanding of his freedom from the bondage of sin through Christ.
For many years now my husband has understood his salvific freedom, meaning that he knows God has rescued him from the grip of hell to be in eternity with him forever. However, he did not understand his freedom from the grip of sin here on earth. This new understanding has lifted chains that have held him down for years and years. Let me explain in hopes that you might also gain a greater understanding of that freedom.
After Moses led the Israelites out of slavery, they were to have a short, 11 day journey through the wilderness to get to the promised land. Instead, they decided to live there in fear, doubt, grumbling and complaining for 40 years. Yikes! They were delivered from the hand of Pharaoh, but definitely not free.
Something that I heard Christine Cain say in a message at the “If: Gathering” this winter in reference to the Israelites really stuck with me. She said, “You can be delivered, but not free.” We can know we will be in heaven with our maker and still chose the misery of living in sin’s bondage for all our days here on earth.
As Live in the Round writer, Jennie said earlier this week, “We are sinful creatures by nature, but we do not have to allow the burden and weight of our sins control our lives.”
I am reminded of the promise that God does not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to combat the temptation. He always provides the way of escape. Always! Further, those temptations are not uncommon. We are not the first or the last to struggle with our particular sins (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Passions of the flesh are waging war for our souls (1 Peter 2:11)! That is a BIG deal and should not be taken lightly. Christ already died for our freedom from sin. I picture Peter pleading with us as I read 1 Peter 2 : 16, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom to cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God!” Later in verse 25 he reminds us that Christ “himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
The law alone is powerless to free us from the bondage of sin. It tells us to refrain from sin and that death is the required penalty. The ultimate punishment for that sin has already been served in Jesus. Apart from him we are wicked and only able to choose death that comes from sin.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
(Ezekiel 36:26-27, emphasis added)
HE makes it possible to walk in freedom from sin.
I pray today for those that are reading this and do not know you. Those that are walking painfully alone through life as slaves to sin. Open their eyes to see your majesty! Remove their hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh, beating solely for you. Give them the grace to know the hope they have in Jesus.
I also pray for those that do know you, but are treading deeply in hidden sin… Likely, drowning in the depths of guilt and shame. Reveal to them so clearly the way out of their temptation to stay prisoner to their sin! Lord, remind them that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ.
We are free to live in obedience of you because your son already took the punishment we deserve. Lord, let us live like we believe that! You have set our captive hearts free. Because we have received a new heart that comes from you alone we do not have to live in the bondage of sin.
You are too glorious for words.
Your Free in the Round,
Please stop back on Fridays for more about Erin's story and what God is doing in her marriage.
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."