Letters to the Prison - Week 82

Hello, everyone.  We’re so grateful for this chance to consider God’s word with you.  Last week, Jesus spoke the 12th “truly truly” statement recorded in John.  As we have seen, each of these statements represent a dire and critical truth that we must pay attention to.  So, let’s take a look:
•“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.-John 8:34
Now, we could spend a whole pile of time debating our various opinions about what exactly is or isn’t a “sin.”  We could also waste a bunch of time talking about the issue of “slavery” and whether there’s a difference between the common definition of slavery (one person aggressively dominating another person for personal gain) and this idea of being a “slave to sin.”  
But we must remember who is speaking here:  Jesus.  The One who claims to be God and has backed that claim in shocking ways numerous times already.  He is the one talking about sin and slavery.  So, regardless of our personal opinions about what constitutes sin, Jesus is talking about His definition of sin.  It’s His standard that we will be held accountable for at the end of our lives, not our own.  The Bible is a great resource for Jesus’ definition of sin.  We do well to pay attention to what it says.  We could spend months, even years, covering everything the Bible has to say about sin.  Proverbs 6:16-19 offers a glimpse of the sort of behavior and attitude Jesus would characterize as sinful:
•There are six things that the LORD hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.-Proverbs 6:16-19  
And that’s just a glimpse.  And the very first thing listed is pride… “haughty eyes.”  Ask anyone who wrestles with an addiction (to anything) and they will likely tell you that they feel enslaved to it.  Maybe it didn’t start out feeling that way, but at some point, as they practiced the behavior, it became a habit… then they lost control of their habit and it began to control their life.  They were addicted to whatever it was they were doing, and that addiction enslaved them… forcing them to do things they didn’t want to do... things they never would have imagined doing.  This is equally true for anyone who practices sin.  This is the sort of slavery Jesus is talking about.
So, for example, if we make a habit of pridefully thinking we’re better than someone else (even God) or that we know better than anyone else (even God), then we become addicted to how that pride makes us feel… ultimately our pride is what leads us to commit such atrocities as slavery.  And so, those who would enslave others are themselves enslaved… to the sin of pride.  We could apply this pattern of practice / habit / addiction / slavery to everything Jesus would define as sin.  Anything we choose to do that is contrary to God’s design and command is a sin that will enslave us.  By this definition, if we’re being honest, we’re enslaved to many sins.  And, as we are about to see next week, Jesus is the only one who can truly free us from our enslavement to sin.  Until then, keep reading!  We love you!

Dean A.

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