We have covered three underpinnings of Biblical freedom as Jesus taught it.
I. Freedom is not total autonomy. “…hold to my teaching…” John 8:31
II. Freedom requires virtue as its guiding principle. “You shall know the truth…” John 8:32
III. Freedom requires obedience to Divine authority structures.
Now we shift to a fourth underpinning—
IV. Freedom is liberation from sin.
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. — John 8:34, 36
Jesus is addressing Jews who professed to believe his message. He engages in a little “shock treatment” of his audience. He seeks to determine who really believes in him and who has a false faith. One word got them very angry, the Greek word eleutheróō = “to make free” or “to set at liberty.”
This really got their hackles up. They protested that they were Abraham’s children and had never been the slaves of anyone. (I think they forgot the Roman soldiers all around them everyday enforcing Roman rule. Pictured below.) Jesus then pointedly declares what slavery he is referring to—slavery to sin.
We might raise such a similar objection today if someone were to suggest people are slaves in the modern world. We are freeborn citizens of the United States! Yet “Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, surpassing deaths from car crashes, guns, and other diseases” (see Dupont below). Dupont’s article is titled,”Chemical Slavery.”
Billy Graham suggested that people’s sinful lifestyles often spread themselves out in judgment before them (see Graham below). It is not necessary for God to unleash specific judgments every time someone sins (e.g. lightning bolts to strike them).
Certainly God can and does reach down and save persons from themselves when they call upon him for grace and mercy. II Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Often, the sin itself carries with it its own punishment. Opioids, crystal meth, etc. certainly do!
Compare King Midas, with the golden touch, touching his daughter and she becoming gold.
If you doubt addicts are slaves, click on this link to a story. Story of Effects of drug addiction
Notice the reference in this story to addiction and its root cause.
“I could buy one [fentanyl pill] and I’d crush [it] up and snort [it]. Put [it] into four lines, and two lines would last me a full day. That’s how strong it was,” she says. “And if I did a whole pill, I’d OD.”
At the mention of overdose, Kati suddenly grows more serious.
“Every time I do dope, I know I’m taking a risk. I know I might die. But it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve OD’d, I still use the next day because the withdrawals are so bad.”
I think no one doubts that the person who is addicted to fentanyl is a slave and is in need of intervention to be saved from its consequences. Rehab works for some. Often it works over and over again since drug addicts often never get totally free, only a reprieve from drugs. Thus, only Jesus can save a person from addiction. And, there are so many addictions in our world today, e.g. pornography, gambling, hoarding, etc.
Matthew 11:28-30 gives hope to the hopeless—
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden (carry heavy burdens), and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
St. Augustine got to the root of all our problems when he said, “You made us for Yourself and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in You!” (see Augustine’s Confession below).
Augustine’s Confessions. (1887 trans.). Accessed 9 November 2018 from http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1101.htm
Dupont, R. L. (n.d.) “Chemical Slavery:Understanding Addiction and Stopping the Drug Epidemic.” Accessed 8 November 2018 from https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ 575830e0b09f958d96b6e4df/t/5bcdc3de15fcc0be3c647a09/1540211678564/Chemical_Slavery_Press_Release.pdf
Fisher’s Catechism. (1765). Accessed 7 November 2018 from https://reformed.org/documents/fisher/index.html
Graham, W. F. (1985). Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Waco, TX Word Press.
Guinness, Os. (1992). No God but God. Chicago, IL Moody Press
ICC Commentary on John. (Accessed 8 November 2018 from https://biblehub.com/ commentaries/icc/john/8.htm
Sproul, R. C. (2017). Accessed 7 November 2018 from https://www.ligonier.org/blog/sin-cosmic-treason/
© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved