Jesus came to preach deliverance to the captives and He is still proclaiming forgiveness and pardon to all who are bound and chained. Not all are free. Many are bound by the chains of harmful habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Not all of us chose these chains – in many cases, they chose us. But we don’t have to be captive any longer. The gospel has power to set us free!
The top four types of bondage that the church faces today: debt, porn, over-eating, and prescription drugs. These are very different fights than our fathers fought against just one generation ago (tobacco & booze). Many find themselves shamefully dependent and devoted to a destructive behavior. Hating self but unable to stop. Like a parasite, the addiction holds on its host for dear life, yet killing it at the same time.
A man takes a drink.
The drink takes a drink.
The drink takes a man.
Sinful labels do not define believers. If you have been saved and have a relationship with Jesus, then sin does not condemn you any longer. Satan has no more dominion over you. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 , Paul reminds the church of what they used to be and what they have become in Jesus. They had been bound and captive by their sin and sinful habits. That’s what happens to people who live without Christ – they become labeled and defined by their sins. But not you – not believers! I love what he says in verse 11… “and such were some of you.” Wow! I’m happy that what I was doesn’t still determine who I am! It’s true that without Jesus, what you do determines who you are. But, in Him, who He is and what He’s done determines who you are!
Notice the three words in verse 11: washed, sanctified, and justified. First order of business is purging of sin, guilt, and stain (1 Jn 1:9). He cleanses out the wound – ridding it of all infection that might spread and make things worse. This isn’t always a pleasant experience, but it’s best. Next, He sets us up for growth (sanctification). He makes us a holy saint – not instantly – but through a process of continual growth. The progress of healing. But not only that, He declares it finished. He renders us completely righteous and restored to innocence. He sees our lives from beginning to end and honors the end because of grace.
It’s a powerful thing to remember that God says: “You are Forgiven” long before we ever confess our sins or repent of them. It’s his goodness that leads us to the place where we feel about sin the way we should (Rom. 2:4). Turn from your sin because it’s already been forgiven and the debt is already paid for!
The Truth Frees
When the woman was caught red-handed in adultery and brought before Jesus (John 8), Jesus responded with a gracious truth. Eventually He set her free to be the overcomer He saw in her. The truth… His truth had made her free. And when He sets you free, nothing can bind you. Stop running back to the open cell and expecting the warden to rule you. The gospel has liberated you and made you free. Christ has expunged your record and given you a new identity. It’s time to live in liberty!