Thursday, October 22, 2015

John 8:31-36 From Slaves to Sons

KEY TEXT: John 8:34-37 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits 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. 

KEY THOT: The truth that we need to know is that we were formerly slaves to sin before we knew Christ. But now in Christ, we have become sons and daughters of God, set free from bondage to sin and Satan. However, the devil as the father of lies has deceived the world to believe in the lie that there is no such thing as sin. We are born basically good. We are sick, not sinful. Sick people need therapy, not repentance. But a slave is always a slave and will never remain in the Father’s house forever. 

In contrast, a son belongs to the Father and to the Father’s house. The slave can only be set free from his slavery if his status is changed from slave to son through repentance (turning from sin and Satan) and faith (turning to Christ). And this change of status can only happen when someone pays the ransom price to secure his freedom and adopts him into his family. That’s exactly what Jesus did for us and to us who were formerly slaves: he paid the ransom price with his blood to secure our release and the Father adopted us into His family by giving to us the Spirit of sonship, whereby we cry, "Abba! Father!". 

We need to know this truth: that we are no longer slaves but children of God; that we have been set free from sin as slaves into Christ’s rule as sons and daughters of God. We are not just "forgiven sinners" but liberated saints! So Jesus affirms: "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!" Hallelujah!

But the reality is many believers are still living in sin. Acquiring the status of a son and daughter of God is a wonderful thing. But we need to take one more step to turn our status into reality. We need to live like free people. The devil’s lie to believers has been: "you are a Christian, that's fine, but you'll never defeat that sinful habits!" And we believe this lie and resign ourselves to our bondage to sin. We think it's okay with God because He still loves us anyway. And for many Christians, that’s where they have stagnated in their spiritual journey—arrested development. 

They remain outside the courtyard of the temple, forgiven and cleansed but not experiencing the power and freedom of sonship that is given to those who walk into the Holy Place where the candlestick (Holy Spirit),the table of showbread (fellowship with God and others) and the altar of incense are (prayer and praise) are found. God is still a distant presence hidden from view, despite the fact that they have every right to enter into the Holy of holies where His Presence is. Like slaves, they stay outside at courtyard, away from God's house, mingling with other sinners instead of walking into God's inner sanctuary as sons.

I am increasingly convinced that only the preaching and teaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom will help our struggling brothers and sisters to be set free from their spiritual bondages. Evangelical preachers like myself have been guilty of preaching half-truth: that we are forgiven and half-lie that we remain sinners. The whole truth to be proclaimed is that we are not only forgiven sinners but liberated saints. It’s the second half of this truth that will set churches free from bondage to defeatism, denials and decline. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty! The book of Acts shows us that the church is a powerful spiritual movement when it is filled with the Spirit.

Father, what a great truth You have revealed to us today—that we are no longer slaves in Your House but sons and daughters. That we can walk in the freedom and power of sonship through Your Holy Spirit who made us cry out, “Abba! Father!” Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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