John 8:34-36 - 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."
"Nobody's going to tell me what to do!" That what a lot of people are saying these days. Freedom is what people want—freedom to think, say, and do what they like. The 20th and the 21st century has given us the idea that our vastly increased understanding of the world and the growing insight we possess on how people think, talk, and act will necessarily result in a grander, more liberated way of life. In spite of enormous gains in scientific knowledge and technological advances, however, people are not free. Far from it. They feel more hemmed in now than ever before.
Martin Luther once said that sin is a man turned in upon himself. A man turned in upon himself forgets God, ignores God, defies God, denies God. Getting away from God, he thinks he is going to get freedom. What he ends up with is slavery. The road to true freedom leads past a cross, a cross where Jesus Christ laid down His life for our enslaving sins. With His death, Christ paid the full price for our sinfulness. The Bible calls it redemption—like the price paid for the ransoming of a slave from his or her captivity.
In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul said, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). Plant your feet firmly within the freedom Christ has won for you, and do not let yourself be caught again in the shackles of slavery. Be who you are meant to be in Christ; be yourself by the grace of God which is in Christ Jesus.
The Savior is inviting you to put your confidence in Him, to accept His forgiveness (the last thing you thought you needed) and to go His way (quite possibly the last thing you ever thought you would do). A lot of people misunderstand Christ, but the simple truth is He alone offers a life worth living—a life free from fear and a life free to hope.
My friend, Jesus Christ died for you and rose again from the dead to live for you. Accept the forgiveness He extends to you and live for Him in all the glorious freedom that belongs to the sons and daughters of God. Let go of the desperation and anxiety of sin's slavery and a conscience heavy before God and enjoy a life of liberation and forgiveness.
It has been won for you through Jesus' blessed triumph over the powers of darkness at Calvary.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for the freedom You have given us through Your Son Jesus. Amen.
From "Nobody's Going to Tell Me What to Do," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Do you know any stories about people being enslaved that are particularly poignant?
2. How does doing something repeatedly make one a slave to that thing?
3. Do you feel liberated or freed in any way on account of Jesus' death and resurrection?
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