Captivity and Freedom
Read John Chapter 8
Jn 8:31 To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
If you are one of my Facebook friends, you know how much I value the freedoms we enjoy in America. I want the government to stay out of my life and let me worship Christ unhindered. Freedom is something which we should treasure. However, in this passage Christ is speaking of a different kind of freedom.
Christ came to our rescue so that we can be free from our sins. In today’s scripture, Jesus told the believers that freedom is available “if you hold to My teaching.” We often quote verse 32. “Then we will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” However, we seldom hear anyone connect the dots to verse 31. We will not experience real freedom from homosexuality unless we hold to the Master’s teaching. All of His teaching and all of the scriptures express to us how we can gain and keep our freedom.
The SSA man and woman have a true perspective on slavery. We have at some time in our lives found ourselves to be enslaved to our same-sex attractions. Perhaps we have tried to extricate ourselves from that trap in our own strength, but if we did, we found the task to be impossible. Our only source of freedom is available in Jesus Christ and His teaching. We know that with our head knowledge, yet we aren’t as likely in heart knowledge to see Christ’s teaching in that light.
We find it very difficult to sense that we are truly freed from our sinfulness. I believe one of the keys to achieving that goal is hidden in verse 31. We must hold to His teaching. Permit me to once again speak from personal experience. I can tell you that anytime I am ‘holding to His teaching,’ I remain free. I don’t give in to temptation when I am clinging to His word. By the same token, anytime I let go of His teaching, I get into deep trouble. If I don’t have Him and His word firmly entrenched in the frontal lobe of my brain, I once again find myself enslaved.
Now let’s look at another application. There are many SSA men and women who have fully misunderstood ‘freedom.’ To some, freedom means the freedom to continue in their sin. They see grace as God’s way of allowing them to stay in their sins. They understand the enslavement of sexual sin, but they also see Christ’s death on the cross as freeing them to satisfy their same-sex attractions. I truly don’t understand how that conclusion can be made. In fact, they would likely deny they believe that way. But by their actions and by their return to the gay lifestyle, that’s the obvious message.
Unfortunately, most of the ‘free’ world has come to believe that any restraints on their behavior are the shackles of slavery which must be thrown off. So those who do not believe in Christ see His word as enslavement, and some believers see His word as a means to continue engaging in gay actions. The only true perspective is that Christ gives man the ability to throw off the shackles of homosexual addiction and live free from its grasp.
It is utter folly to believe that God’s grace allows a man to continue living in sin, in direct opposition to God’s word; His truth, His teaching. The man and woman who thinks that way is aptly described in the following passage.
2Pe 2:18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
Prayer: Thank You for Your teachings which allow us to escape our enemy’s trap and his lies. Prevent us from ever being deceived, and bring back any of our brothers who have gone down that road. We also pray for those who have refused to believe any of Christ’s teachings. Have mercy and save them from destruction.