Key verse: John 8:34
Big idea: The sign of slavery is sin.
Today is election day (join me on Facebook.com/alvinmbc or Youtube.com/alvinmbc from 6-6:30 PM Central for a special time of prayer for our nation). People around the country are using their freedom to make choices, from who they support for President down to the local school board. The candidates generally claim to offer freedom, although what they mean by that can radically differ. Even more, their definitions differ substantially from the biblical idea of freedom. When Jesus spoke to a Jewish crowd, He told them that if the Son made them free, they would be truly free. They were outraged: who was He to claim that He could make them free? They were freeborn sons of Abraham! They were not anyone's slaves! It sounds similar to how modern Americans might react. "I am free already! No one is the boss of me."
But the biblical understanding of freedom entails much more. We are slaves to whatever we serve. If we say that we are free but have no control over our appetites, then we are truly slaves to the tyrant Sin. We might have the ability on paper to choose what we want to do, but truly be slaves. It might be sobering to look at your life and see how free you really are. Maybe we look at our sin and tell the addict's lie: "I can quit whenever I want." Maybe we do things that look good, but know that we are slaves to reputation and pride. The chains are invisible but they are heavy.
Jesus offers something better. A slave in ancient Israel was not a permanent resident of the household: they would serve their term of service to pay off their debt and then be freed. But a child remained part of the family forever. So the one set free by the Son - to become a child in the family - is truly free! Free not to rip the wallpaper and stain the carpet, but free to live with the responsibilities and privileges of the family. Jesus offers us freedom from the pettiest tyrant of all: ourselves.
Discussion idea: What is a sin that threatens to enslave you? How does committing that isn once deepen its hold on you?
Prayer focus: Lord, thank you for setting me free by the cross, so that I never must sin. Help me to live in that freedom and to offer my life for You.