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)
I have a hard time getting over what the people said to Jesus: "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone." How in the world did they manage to forget slavery in Egypt? It was the major focus of their biggest national holiday, the Passover—remembering how God saved them and set them free! How could they ever forget?
And yet, we show a similar forgetfulness sometimes, don't we? Our slavery was to something even bigger and more dangerous—to the power of sin.
What exactly is sin, anyway? It's that horrible twist in our nature that makes it impossible for us to go on doing right, even when we desperately want to. It's that tug that pulls us to do what we know is wrong, bad, harmful, and no matter how hard we fight it, we still find ourselves slipping and giving in. It's that addiction, that pull, that slavery, as Jesus calls it, which rules our lives and distorts all the good things we try to do. It's the reason nobody honest can ever say, "I have totally clean hands. I have never done anything bad or shameful."
God knows we need help. You know we need help, if you have ever struggled with sin with all your might and still come up short. And Jesus promises us that help. He promises to set us free: "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
How can He set us free? Because of who He is—Son of God and Son of Man. Because of what He has done—because He has paid the price for our freedom through His suffering, death, and resurrection. Because of His love for us, which gives us our freedom as a gift with no strings.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, give me this freedom and help me to live within it by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
* Have you ever been trapped and unable to move? What did that feel like?
* What is one temptation to sin you have struggled with?
* How has God helped you gain freedom?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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