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 8:34-36)
Jesus has some strong words to say here to some people who thought they were holy just because they were related to someone who was holy. Jesus likens them to slaves. Slaves have no will of their own. They are in bondage to their masters. So Jesus is saying that those who are slaves to sin cannot help but to make unrighteous choices. He then makes a bold declaration. We cannot escape sin on our own. Jesus is offering the only way to be free from the slavery of sin. When he sets us free from sin, and the burden of guilt that goes with our sins, we can finally discover what true freedom really is. We become free indeed.
Military Members should have a special appreciation for what is being said by Jesus in this passage. The Military Code of Conduct gives instructions to those American Service Members who are captured as prisoners of war. Article III says in part, “I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape.” This is what Jesus in essence is emphatically saying to us. Sin wants to hold us as helpless prisoners and slaves. The temptation is for us to become content in that condition since we see no way out. But Jesus comes to us and is offers us a way to escape the slavery of sin, a way to be free. And then once we are free, we are to point others to Jesus so that they can too can be free of the shackles of sin.
I am reminded of the fourth verse of the classic hymn And Can It Be which says, “Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed Thee.”
In what ways are you still a slave to sin? What is keeping you from asking Jesus to free you from your slavery? When was the last time you spoke to someone about they can free from their sins?
My Lord and my God, thank you for setting me free from the slavery of sin through your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to live free, and to share with others how they can be free too. Amen.