Are You Free?
Read John 8:34-38 (ESV)
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. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
According to Jesus, who are slaves to sin? What does He mean when He talks about freedom?
Yesterday, we read Jesus’ often quoted words “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32) and we also read the response from the Jewish listeners. They cited their lineage from Abraham and claimed to have never been in bondage to anyone. Now, we know the Jews had been in political bondage several times (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Syria, and Rome had all held them in captivity as a nation). So, surely, they weren’t referencing political bondage here because they were enslaved to Rome right at that very moment in history! But if they did grasp that Jesus was talking about spiritual bondage, they must have believed that because they were God’s chosen people, they couldn’t be held captive spiritually.
But in today’s verses, Jesus cleared up the confusion by explaining that whoever practices sin is enslaved to sin. Their ethnic and religious identity as Jews could not save them from the consequences of their sin. They were spiritual captives and even as God’s chosen people, their relationship with God was broken. The only way to be set free is by the Son of God.
During this time in Rome, slavery was allowed and a widespread practice so it was an analogy that should have made sense to His listeners. Slaves often lived in their master’s houses but they didn’t have any rights to the home and they didn’t have any permanent guarantee that they would be in that home forever. They could be bought, sold, or dismissed. But unlike slaves, sons were heirs. They had a permanent place in the family household and rights to the inheritance.
So the question really is, are we slaves to sin or sons and daughters of God? Well, we all have sinned so we are all in bondage unless the Son sets us free. The Son redeemed those of us who have put our faith in Him so we have been set free from our bondage to sin and death. We are no longer slaves but children of God!
In Galatians 4:4-7, the apostle Paul explained: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
And once Jesus has set us free, we are free indeed! Meaning, we can’t go back into slavery. We might stumble and we might backslide. We will sin sometimes. But we are no longer slaves to it. In Romans 8:15, Paul gave us more details about the kind of spirit we received when we accepted Christ: “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”
But as Jesus was talking with the Jews in today’s passage, He didn’t identify God the Father as their father. He said that even though they are Abraham’s family, they want to kill Him and they don’t have His Word in them, so God the Father is not their father. There are only two options for spiritual fathers—God the Father or Satan, the father of this world.
So, who’s your spiritual father? Are you still held captive by your sin or have you been set free by the Son and adopted into the family of God? Jesus is offering a life of forever freedom. You can be saved and set free by placing your faith in Him today as Your Lord and Savior. Don’t settle for a life of slavery. Ask the Son to set you free!
PrayLord, what a gift it is to have freedom in You. I am no longer a slave to sin and doomed to death but I have life and freedom because You have redeemed me! You have set me free! I praise You, Lord, for adopting me into Your family forever. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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