(2 Corinthians 11:16-21)
One of the worst things that can happen to a person, especially a Christian, is to brought into slavery. I am not talking about the kind of slavery we are familiar with, which is physical slavery where people are captured, sold and held in chains to do the bidding of others.
No. My concern and the concern Paul raises in this section is about Christians in spiritual slavery. This is far worse than physical slavery because most Christians don’t even know they have been captured. They don’t realise they are in spiritual bondage, and too often it is the church itself which puts them into bondage and forces them to stay there.
This should not be so because Jesus came and died so that the slavery of the spirit and the bondages of sin could and would be broken. And yet many Christians today are still trapped in those same bonds and have no idea how to break free as Jesus planned.
Freedom From Sin
The first thing we must look at is that many Christians still live in the bondage of sin.
How many times have you heard people claim that they are still sinners? How many times have you heard Christians say the words, “I am a sinner saved by grace?”
If you listen as I do, you will hear these words spoken by Christians over and over again. And in saying these words, especially the one about being a sinner saved by grace, it is evident that they do not yet understand the freedom that Jesus has given them.
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)
They do not yet understand that when Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” And again in Galatians 5 Paul reiterates the power of Jesus death and resurrection saying,
1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
What does the verse in John above say that people were in slavery to? “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” So all mankind were under the power of sin.
But as you read both the John verse and Galatians 5:1, we see that Jesus has set us free from the slavery of sin. We are no longer enslaved to sin because Jesus shed His blood to set you free. He sacrificed Himself and His life so that you and I could be set free from the slavery of sin. That is why He came two thousand years ago.
So why do people still call themselves sinners? Jesus set you free from sin, so why do people say they are still a sinner, whether saved by grace or not?
Let me ask this: Do YOU still think you are a sinner?
If you do, the in effect you are saying you are NOT set free from sin and that the precious blood shed by Christ was NOT good enough to set YOU free from sin and that you are still a slave to sin.
Christians say the words that they are set free from sin, but then they refuse to believe it is possible, especially for themselves. They live in constant self-condemnation because they still think they are sinners. And as Romans 8:1 says, “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”
What do YOU believe? Are you a sinner, or did the blood of Jesus truly set you free from sin so that you are NO LONGER a slave to sin? Your sin has been taken away so that you can live in freedom from sin, so you are not a sinner anymore…if you will just believe it.
And there is more that Jesus accomplished through the shedding of His blood.
Freedom From Law
At the same time that Jesus died and set us free from the slavery to sin, He also set us free from the slavery to the old law. And once again most Christians say the words that they have been set free from law, but again they do not understand it because in the next breath they say you are under and must keep the Ten Commandments. Many also follow the commandments to tithe as laid out in the old testament too.
The Ten Commandments and the laws of tithing and any of the other laws collectively are “The Law.” And Jesus set us free from “The Law” when He died.
He did this because the law defines sin for what it is, and sin is the breaking of the law (see 1 John 3:4-5).
So if Jesus once cleaned away all of our sins, without removing the law, then the next time we messed up, we would again be sinners. But by taking away the law He prevented us ever being sinners again. You see, you can’t break a law that you are not bound under.
Again, the freedom that Jesus gave us in His death and resurrection is total and complete. He took away our sins and also took away the mechanism of sin, which is the law.
And yet people still say they are under the law even though they know the Bible tells them they are set free from it. They still say you must keep the Ten Commandments and tithing and various other laws, even though Jesus has already set you free from ALL of the law…including the Ten Commandments!
This does not mean you can deliberately go out and break the laws, as some people claim. That would be licentiousness. But instead we follow the principle that Paul laid down in Romans
14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:14-15)
31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:31)
No. We do not go out and deliberately sin because we are not under law but under grace. Instead, we uphold the just requirements of the law because what the law requires is right in the sight of God. We are trying to live as Christ lived, and so we need to learn to live, act, think and behave as Jesus did. And to do that we have the law as a benchmark, and Jesus as the example. In fact we see in Jesus, many examples where His standard was even higher than the law.
But there is even more to this freedom that we receive because Jesus shed His blood for us.
Freedom From Passions and Lusts of the Flesh
Jesus cleaned our slates so that we are no longer under the power of sin and are no longer held accountable for even breaking the law. He truly has set us free and we now live in the freedom of God’s grace.
But, as you will be thinking, we still screw up and do the wrong things we still “break the law” even though we are no longer under the law. So how can we ever be TRULY free when the passions, lusts and desires of our flesh lead us astray?
Well, Jesus has done this too. He set us free from sin and set us free from the law so we could no longer sin, so that we could be perfect in the sight of God.
Yes…you read that right. Those who have faith in what Jesus did, believing all the things above and who have been baptised in the name of Jesus Christ are PERFECT in the sight of God. But this perfection is by faith only, not by what we do.
The reason we needed to be made perfect through faith is so that God would help us to become perfect in FACT not just in faith. God rejected man because of sin, which you can read in Romans chapter 1. God said He would have nothing to do with a sinner for we have “…all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) So if God was to help man back to perfection, He had to rid man of sin AND the law so that He would see man as perfect and then help Him. He did this in Jesus Christ who was the perfect sacrifice for man.
But our lusts and desires still lead us astray. So to overcome those, God sent the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, to work with and in each person individually to overcome the weaknesses within us all. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring man back into the image of God by dealing with the lusts, passions and desires that lead man to fall away into sinfulness. The work of the Holy Spirit is to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God the Father. The work of the Holy Spirit is to take our current perfection by FAITH and turn it into perfection by FACT…and this is a long, long journey.
God knows we will mess up and make mistakes. He expects it to happen because He knows man is imperfect and will be imperfect until the work of the Holy Spirit is complete…and no man knows when that will happen.
So God made allowances for man’s faulty state by giving us His grace. It is the power of the grace of God which covers our errors when we mess up. When we fall and fail, He gives us more grace so that we can repent and return to the path He has set before us. He keeps us in this perfect (by faith) place through His grace.
So you see, the freedom that God wrought in Jesus Christ through His death is total, complete and perfect. While we have faith and follow the teachings of Jesus according to how He taught them, we remain perfect in the sight of God and living in the freedom of Jesus Christ.
So don’t call yourself a sinner, regardless of what any other man says, including some pastors, teachers, preachers and ministers. It is often they who are keeping the flock of Christ under the condemnation of sin and the law. Do not fall into that trap! Do not be Christians in Slavery but live in the freedom you have in Jesus Christ!
You might also like:
Jesus Is Lord Of The Sabbath
The Great Commission Part 2
The Great Commission Part 3
Jesus Fulfilled Law
Its Not About The Law
The Resurrection Of The Lord
Grace And Truth Came Through Jesus Christ
Jesus Came To Save Not To Condemn
Are You A Sinner
The Truth Will Make You Free
If You Keep My Commandments
Why Jesus Died
What Is Truth
Christian Giving Vs Tithing
Who Should You Listen To
Baptising The Ethiopian
The Most Important Thing
Keeping The Law Of Moses
A Letter To The Church
Christians And The Law
Why You Are Freed From Law
The Reign Of Grace
You Are Not A Sinner
You Are Not Under Law
The Law Ends At Death
How Freedom From Law Works