The passage today in our reading plan is taken from John’s Gospel. Reading it again, I am struck by how blatantly the Pharisees call Jesus a product of fornication. It is a reminder that Jesus suffered not only physically for us, but emotionally. He had to endure being criticized and misunderstood. The questions posed in the message guide this week didn’t address those issues though. The questions were, “How does sin enslave us? How does knowing the truth help us to defend against the schemes of the devil?”
Seeing how sin enslaves us personally can be difficult to see. We don’t always see how sin limits our character and growth, but we can see the slavery of sin in extreme cases, when it is full blown: the drug addict who can no longer function normally, the liar who has no good relationships because he can’t tell the truth, extreme greed like Scrooge whose love of money condemns him to isolation. Why do we see these clearly? We see the fruit of where it leads, we see the flowering of sin. And so we can know that sin enslaves because in the end it delivers nothing, it does not satisfy our desires and takes everything. The drug addict eventually cannot function without the drug and gets very little pleasure from it. Sin enslaves because we then make the devil our master. On the other hand, when we surrender to God, we make God our master, who not only satisfies our desires, but gives us the power and freedom to choose our own good.
The devil being the father of lies gets us to buy into sin by inverting the truth above. He presents sin as a way to fulfill our desires and as a path to freedom. The lie of the devil is that rebellion equals freedom. The lie of the devil is that sin equals life and joy. We have fallen so deep into this thinking. I know as soon as God wants me to do something, I push back, I assume he is trying to take something from me. I think doing whatever I want will lead to freedom. I take easy roads instead of doing what is difficult because sloth and laziness in doing good seem more attractive, but in the end they enslave, they keep me from being who God created me to be. So I need to constantly renew my mind with the truth. Sin enslaves. Obedience to Christ leads to freedom. Sin and rebellion against God lead to slavery, while obedience leads to freedom.