Sunday, March 19, 2017

ONCE A SLAVE, ALWAYS A SLAVE

SLAVERY. The very word produces images of chains, whips, abject conditions of poverty and near starvation.

Our own American history is stained with deplorable treatment of Africans who were brought to our shores and suffered bondage for generations. They were deemed ignorant and inferior and thus, suitable for nothing else but slavery.

We like to think that here in the 21st century that we are more sophisticated and have higher sensibilities, but the fact of the matter is that slavery is still very much a reality. Enlistment into slavery of 'infidels' is still deemed a right by the Quran and the followers of Mohammad. Also, vast networks of illegal human trafficking that induct people into slavery (which according to statistics, as of 2014 included 21 million victims worldwide) is happening all around us!!

In REV 18:13 it mentions,
And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

And also:
REV 13:16
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (see also REV 6:15).

So Scripture states that even in the last days, slavery will be a fact of life; certainly the aforementioned statistics indicates such an increasing trend.

This post is about the slavery of the worst kind - slavery into sin. Slavery into sin takes on many forms - including various addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling and others.

In AA and similar groups, it is stated that once you develop any such addiction, it is with you for the rest of your life. You can never be free of such things, but always - as long as you don't succumb to it - "in a state of recovery".

Biblically speaking, it is true that a sinner will always be prone to and enslaved by sin. There is no hope that they will be set free of such slavery by any ability of their own. It is an inescapable inherent nature brought to the human race by the fall of Adam. 

ROMANS 6:16a
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death
. . . 


ROMANS 5:12-14
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

But this is not at all to say that we sinners can never be free of the sins and addictions that enslave us. The LORD Jesus said:

LUKE 4:18
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised
,


JOHN 8:36
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed
.


As saints, born of the Spirit of God, we are free from the law of sin and death:

ROMANS 8:1-2

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

And we are to stand fast in the freedom and liberty that Christ won for us by His own blood and atoning sacrifice on the Cross:

GAL 5:1
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage
 (See also REV 5:9).


As citizens of the Kingdom of God, we need not ever experience bondage to sin and death; this is not to say that as God's children, who bear the nature of Christ within, that we do not still have a sin nature: this is the essence of what our fallen bodies are about.
We are absolutely the redeemed of the LORD, whose hearts are redeemed and sanctified; our minds are likewise in the process of being redeemed and sanctified daily as we renew them by the power of God's grace (ROM 12:1-2). Our bodies have not yet been redeemed (but they will be! ROM 8:22-24) and that is why there is an ongoing war against our flesh and the Spirit of God (GAL 5:16-17).


But we have the comfort of knowing that as long as we are walking in the Spirit (basically that's living our lives in following Christ's example) we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (GAL 5:16), and we are free of getting entangled in any besetting sins.

WE ARE NO LONGER SLAVES - OR ARE WE?

The concept of a slave in one sense is that of a person bound in chains and misery, suffering indignities and oppression. 
Certainly anyone who is bound to sin as its slave (and without the Spirit of Christ) won't see it that way - at least not at first; they can have their fill of "sex and drugs and rock 'n roll" and all the pleasures of this world - and not for a moment think that they are a slave but living 'the high life'.

Until their choice of recreational drug becomes so addictive, that they live only to feed that addiction - even if it means stealing to get it. Until they contract a venereal disease that ruins their lives. Until after years of 'party hearty' it takes its toll on their body. Until their associations and friendships (based on the gang-kind of lifestyle for example) abandon them when serious trouble falls.

ROM 6:23a
The wages of sin is death
. . . 


And that can mean the death of a marriage or other relationship, the death of family ties, the death of financial security, the death of social standing, the death of health - or just plain death. Ultimately it will mean spiritual death (what the Bible calls "the second death" (REV 20:14).) and that is the ultimate fruit of sin.

But there is another kind of slavery, that of servanthood: In the Law given to Israel, anytime someone became indebted to another and had no money to pay the debt, they would lend their services to them. Once they worked long enough, they were freed from service. But there were times when the servant realized that life was better serving their master than it was when they were out on their own. They loved their master, and his family; they were contend with their lodgings and the allotment of food and clothing they were given.

They would commit themselves to their master as a life-long servant. This was known as a bond servant or a doulos. They would pierce their ear and place a gold earring in it, and that was an emblem that everyone understood: this was a person wholly devoted to their master - to ever and always fulfill their will and not their own will (EXOD 21:5-6).

'Slavery in Christ' is nothing like slavery to sin; it is a satisfying, albeit challenging life which is ultimately blessed in both the fruit borne of the Spirit as well as in the relationship of every saint who so pledges themselves to the LORD God and Jesus Christ. We are yoked together with Christ and thereby learn of Him (MATT 11:28-30).


Being a slave of Christ means that I am "dead" to myself: my desires, my objectives, my ambitions and plans, my loves and affections - and I am alive to Christ and find that His desires, objectives, ambitions, plans, loves and affections are growing in my life. And THIS is life more abundant (JOHN 10:10)!

We are in a spiritual sense, "dead men walking - in the Spirit" - dead to self and alive to God, "perfecting holiness" (ROM 6:11; 2 COR 7:1
GAL 2:20).

It's very much like Bob Dylan sang, "Ya gotta serve somebody" - and we will either serve sin, being intent on 'doing our own thing' and thereby denying God as our Creator His purpose for our lives - or serve the LORD.

It's just a matter of determining whose slave you are; but a slave you are and always will be: either Christ's or sin's.
So whose slave are YOU?

For more on this, watch this teaching on ROMANS 6:

DEAD MEN WALKING - IN THE SPIRIT



May the LORD bless you all, the saints of the living God, way too much!!

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