March 14, 2018

The Word: Prisoners

Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed
(John 8:34–36).


No substitute exists for being a prisoner of Christ. Jesus said, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Is this true? What was Jesus telling us? 

What Jesus is teaching in John 8:36 is absolutely true. The apostle Paul learned this valuable lesson and grasped its counterintuitive life principle. Paul said, “As a prisoner of the Lord…” (Ephesians 4:1). Only by living a Spirit-filled life can we comprehend the depths of this often-perplexing principle in life. 

When we decide we want to be free from all responsibilities, we most likely end up enslaved to our own personal choices and in bondage to our selfish desires. So we aren’t really free anyway. The fruits of an enslaved, self-centered life are obvious; just check out the list in Galatians 5:19–21. Fleshly spiritual bondage is like a metastasizing cancer. Your sinful, fleshly nature strives to take authority over your godly, spiritual nature to imprison your soul both now and for eternity. 

Paul understood this so instead he chose to become a prisoner of the Lord. Liberation comes once we are imprisoned to a fruitful life in Christ and produce healthy fruit. There are nine healthy fruits produced by the Spirit of God in Spirit-filled lives: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).

There is nothing wrong with being imprisoned to Christ or dedicated to His principles and lifestyle. In fact, this imprisonment-freedom in Christ paradox has a great purpose. Paul said, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).




Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want.

—Martin Luther


Today’s prayer…

Father, thank You for your Word. As Scripture says, true freedom is found in Jesus Christ alone. Only He has the power to forgive us and set us free. Thank you for sending Him to pay for our sins and to give us this freedom. God, we know there is nothing we can do other than accept Your atoning work by faith—done on our behalf to set us free through Jesus Christ. In His name, Amen!