John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
Dickens’s portrait of Marley in A Christmas Carol. He was bound by his greed.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon says this about the phrase “whoever commits sin.”
“Depend upon it, acts of sin breed habits of sin; and habits are the chains which slaves wear. How many there are who are bound to their lusts with many [shackles]! Once, they seemed to enjoy the sin, and to hold it in subjection; but now it has bound them, and they cannot escape from it.” (see Spurgeon below).
If you doubt the veracity of Spurgeon’s claim, listen to Eugene O’Neill.
Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question. If you would not feel the horrible burden of time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually. Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will. But be drunken. (see O’Neill below).
All of the substances that we use cannot deliver us from the guilt of sin.
Slavery to sin
All who live apart from a personal relationship with God through Christ are the slaves to sin. Ephesians 2:1-10 describes man’s natural state and the intervention of God to bring life to those who are spiritually dead.
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the [a]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Sin predisposes people to turn away from [the] God who offers reconciliation by grace, and toward something that can allow them to pursue life autonomously, as a law unto themselves (see Guinness, p. 36, below). Only God can deliver man from slavery to sin.
Liberal theologians posit that society’s problems result from sin in its social structures. This is not the case, however. Sin in society is a result of sin within individuals’ hearts.
Jeremiah 7:9-10 describes the problem we have.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately [incurably] wicked; who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
This is why the ultimate solution cannot be governmental programs such as education, guaranteed income, or wealth redistribution schemes. The solution must touch the individual’s heart. This is why we desperately need a revival of religion that begins in the hearts of individuals and spreads to the entire society and its structures through regenerate individuals.
Christ alone can deliver us from sin’s slavery.
Jesus said, “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed!”
Guinness, Os. (1992). No God but God. Chicago, IL Moody Press
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/60715-be-always-drunken-nothing-else-matters-that-is-the-only, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Accessed January 12, 2019 from
Spurgeon, C. H. (1883). Exposition of John 8:28-59 from Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume 44: 1898. Accessed January 13, 2019 from https://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons44.xxxv.html
© 2019 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved