Lifelines July 01, 2018

Sin seizes us.  It is never honest but enslaves us through deception.  If its true destructive nature were clearly revealed, we would never buy into it.  We can’t point the finger at environmental influences.  The serpent convinced Eve to take a bite while she lived in paradise.  We cannot blame God.  He is neither tempted nor tempts (James 1:13).  No, it comes from evil influences within (James 1:14), and we end up being slaves to those desires.  The devil is skillful.  He works on our heart.  When he has that, he has us.

Sin is a dynamic force.  It will rob us of freedom if we let it.  Jesus knew.  He saw the whole picture, and it was an ugly one.  Everyone who gives in becomes its servant (John 8:34). There are no exceptions.  It is a universal principle etched in stone by the one who faced death to liberate the slaves.  Sin will dominate our minds and dictate our actions unless we are set free from its control. The unavoidable outcome of such a life is death (Romans 6:16).  We are at liberty to choose which road we take.  However, the ultimate destination is beyond our control.

Paul was a special handpicked messenger of God (Acts 9:15).  His aggressive persecution of the church is legendary.  So is his amazing confrontation with Jesus on the Damascus road.  His work on behalf of the Lord lives to this day.  Words from heaven flowed through his pen.  Yet, he was not immune from sin’s dreadful influence (Romans 7:15-25).  He knew its mind-numbing dictatorship that led him to do what he never dreamed of and not doing what he intended.  Sin ran his life.  Frustration descended on his mind like early morning fog.  His self-esteem hit an all-time low.  Welcome to the world of sin.  Next stop: eternal damnation.

Only God knows the full extent of sin’s devastation.  It is incomprehensible to the human mind.  The cross is as close as we will ever come to understanding its brutality.  That is where good and evil had the ultimate encounter.  God the Son met it head on.  Sin beat His innocent back to a bloody pulp, put a crown of thorns on His head, drove nails through His hands and feet, then thrust a sword into His side.  Sin will kill the Lord in our lives, too.  When it does, Satan ascends to reign and we are left as slaves.

We are just days away from celebrating our national independence.  Many lives were given to secure it.  A war was fought and blood was spilled so that we might be liberated from foreign domination.  Two thousand years ago holy blood was shed to free us from a spiritual dictator.  We cherish the freedom that we enjoy.  It was costly, but the freedom that Jesus gives cost even more.  It is a liberty that will never end.