14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
On the occasion of my country’s Republic Day, I feel compelled to write on freedom and what it truly entails because today the only freedom the average Indian knows is freedom from the British Raj, which is something like the Israelites of Jesus’ time seeking Christ only to save Israel from Roman rule. The individual on the other hand is clueless about his/her own nature before God, of how enslaved he/she is to sin.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Before I knew the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour from revealed scripture, I was just another sinfully predictive human being, who sought nothing more than self-gratification in life. If we look at 1Jn2:16 we see there are 3 facets of bondage drivers in this world that deter people from finding freedom in God i.e. the lust of the flesh, which is pleasure dealing with indulgence of the senses beyond that which is healthy; then the lust of the eyes, which is power: craving that which is beyond our means. Third being the boastful pride of life, which you see in the faces of people who are full of themselves.
6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
These three facets of bondage, show its self as also driving the fallen nature of Adam and Eve, where when Eve saw the tree was good for food, it accounted for her lust of the flesh i.e. it pleased her senses beyond that which was good for life. Whereas when she saw it was a delight to the eyes, that was her lust of the eyes i.e. a craving for power. Finally, her opinion outside the righteousness of God to find the fruit desirable to make her wise (Prov1:7) was what wet her worldly appetite towards the pride of life. Today, yielding to this fallen pride/pleasure/power is what enslaves the actions of all the people in the world, who are as much under the sway of Satan (1Jn5:19) as Adam and Eve were, when they fell to disobedience. Herein is our bondage to sin, our very nature from Adam.
39 “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40 “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
41 “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42 “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
If we were to look at the above scripture from the perspective of the world, it comes across as only a good teaching which is not practical. Ironically, the world also recognises much of the success of these teachings as having played a role in India’s non-violent freedom movement driven by Mahatma Gandhi.
7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
As the Lord Jesus says, an individual can serve only one of two masters, either he/she shall serve God or he/she shall serve money (Lk16:13). As it is with the world, these are given to only serve themselves outside the righteousness of God, for such is the nature they have received from Adam, that they cannot even consider the thought of trusting God with their lives, in being consistently yet cautiously good (Mt10:16). That in obeying Jesus, it is God who preserves them from the wicked (Ps37:40).
17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Life is therefore a pilgrimage for an individual who seeks the Lord in the midst of the moral defilements of this world and just as one would stop to take directions, so also the real question on which the individual must pause to ponder is: How can he/she live a life that is pleasing to God? Its answer is sited in Micah 6:8.
8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
John 15 (Jesus’ words)
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Like an electronic appliance that cannot function without electricity, so too Micah 6:8 cannot materialize unless the individual goes through a spiritual rebirth, which comes through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn3:3/2Cor5:17). There are three aspects to this saving faith: Knowledge, Intellectual Assent & Trust. These three are all given to the believer in Salvation. Where knowledge is of things which are spiritually appraised (1Cor2:14), while intellectual assent is to dwell on the substance that is our faith and know its fullness in the Lord Jesus Christ (Lk24:32) and finally trust is what distinguishes the sheep from the goats and the angels from demons and that is where, after having the knowledge and intellectual assent the believer is given to exercise his/her faith in waiting on the Lord in faith (Is40:31/Mt25:1-13).
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
There is but one name i.e. Jesus Christ in which there is Salvation and God’s good pleasure, that those who desire the Lord Jesus Christ, are given a circumcision of heart (Rom2:29) that they live not as in serving themselves but in serving God (Col3:23-24).
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
In Salvation therefore is true freedom for every man, woman and child because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (Jn14:6). Besides our nature to sin, is only nauseating at its height because it marks our unhealthy spiritual estate and sinful bondage before God and so to live life to its fullest is to begin a journey as though it were our life’s pilgrimage to know the Lord Jesus Christ from the Bible.