John 8:36, “So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Sin is chocolate covered dog poop. We know sin is a trick, yet we find it appealing and tasteful anyway. Thus, we gladly indulge in it and dance around in its muck. We cannot help ourselves. It is true what Jesus says, then, “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (v. 34). Some of us know this. Some of us know that no matter how hard we try, we cannot help but sin. Others of us prefer to live in ignorance, pretending the excrement we are consuming is not harmful. The latter cannot be saved, for in their hardness of heart they prefer the excrement of the Devil. The former, however, come to Jesus, and it is these whom He sets free.
I will not go into the details, but I once committed a sin (several times) I believed to be so great that I believed God could not and would not forgive me. How foolish I was, and how oppressed I was in the guilt and shame of my sin. Yet once I got out of my own head and came to Christ, He set me free. I was a Christian when I committed this “unforgivable” sin, too. It is not merely unbelievers who struggle with their shame of sin, but many of us Christians as well.
Hear, therefore, brothers and sisters, the words of Jesus: “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” If you are a Christian—if you have faith and are baptised—Christ has set you free. “I don’t feel like I’m free,” you might say. It doesn’t matter what you feel. Your feelings do not determine whether or not you are free from sin; Jesus determines that, and He has declared that if you believe and trust in Him, He has set you free from sin.
Again, you might say, “Yes, I believe this, but when temptation comes again, I might not have the power to resist.” Jesus knows this. Even when you are unable to resist, Jesus is with you. When you cannot resist, Jesus’ arms are still open; He does not close Himself off to you. Ask any recovering addict who knows Jesus, and they will tell you this. We addicts know what it’s like being unable to resist temptation as well as the helplessness of it all. Yet for we who know Jesus, we know Christ is walking alongside us the entire way toward sobriety, in sobriety, and even in relapse. Without Christ, we would have no hope. So, too, He is with you when you relapse in sin, which you are certainly bound to do.
Christ setting you free does not mean He has left you on your own to figure it out for yourself. Christ setting you free means He has freed you from the dominion of sin and has placed you under His grace (Romans 6:14).