“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:34-36
I think we all know that Jesus died to take the punishment we deserve for our sins. Because of his death on the cross the words “paid in full” can be written over all our sins. But I also think we are not all free from the grip sin has on our lives.
I want you to imagine sin as a chain-and-ball you wear around your legs like prisoners or slaves did in the olden days to stop them running away. Everywhere you go you drag that chain with you like Marley’s ghost in A Christmas Carol. A constant reminder of your sinful past. A constant reminder of all the times you’ve stumbled before, taunting you, telling you there is no point even trying not to sin because before too long you’ll screw up again, and have nothing to show for it but a bunch of fresh regrets. The devil likes to remind us of our chain. He likes to offer us ways to add extra links into that chain. And each time we cave in the chain just gets heavier and heavier, and we decide that God won’t accept us with our chain, so we stop even trying to live for Him.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Because Jesus died to set us free. We do not have to be a slave of our sin. We no longer need to carry our chain around with us. We can be free of it. But here’s how it works. When we put our trust in Jesus to forgive our sins he breaks those metaphorical chains that are around our legs. They are loosened, but for many of us they are still carried around. Because while Jesus sets us free from their grip, it is up to us to take the step out of them and walk away from them.
Without Jesus’ death on the cross we have no chance of walking away, for the grip of the chains around us is too tight. But when He sets us free that grip is loosened so that we can walk out of them – if we choose to. And I guess that is the challenge. Are you willing to walk away from your chains (whatever they may consist of for you)? Are you prepared to stare the devil down and say “I am free, and will no longer be giving in to your temptations”? Will you refuse to carry your past around with you any longer, refuse to let it define your future?
It won’t be easy. The chains can feel so familiar and comfortable, but only because we don’t know how much better it feels to be truly free. Jesus has died to set us free, but it is up to us to step away from our chains, and leave our sin behind us. We need to take John’s mentality from 1 John 3:9 “Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.” Today step away from any chains of sin that have been broken by Jesus’ death but are still stuck around your legs. Live in the freedom he died to give us. And ask Him for the strength to do so.