Tuesday, August 20, 2019


I recently read a news story about a stuck Raccoon inside a snack vending machine at a Florida High School.  Authorities believe that he entered the machine through the bottom door of the vending machine.  Since the only way to open it is to push at the door from the outside, the Raccoon was stuck once he entered the machine.  School officials called animal control to come and deal with the trapped creature.  They unplugged the machine, wheeled the vending machine outside, then opened so the Raccoon could make his mad dash to freedom.

This illustrates the nature of temptation and sin.  In John 8:34, Jesus said that anyone who commits a sin is a slave to sin.  Temptation lures you closer and closer until you enter into sin and are trapped.  No matter how hard you try, you cannot break free.  You cannot go back and "un-sin."  You cannot turn back the clock and undo what you have done.  The only hope is for someone who is not also trapped to come along and rescue you.  The only one that can do this is Jesus.  After pointing out that anyone who sins becomes a slave to sin, he points out, "But if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed."

The sad thing is that many do not realize they are trapped.  They are surrounded by goodies that make it seem as though they have hit the jackpot.  For a season, life is a party.  However, this does not last forever.  At some point, the goodies spoil and perish.  The ultimate result of sin is eternal death.

How to Be Rescued

How fortunate that Jesus came to rescue us from sin!  Jesus is the one who provided a way to break the chains of bondage to sin.

1) Jesus Provides the Way.  1 Corinthians 15:3-4 says, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

He died for our sins, and therefore enables us to be freed from sin.  He is the only one that could die for our sins and free us from sin for two reasons:  a) He himself did not sin, and therefore is without sin.  Hebrews 4:15 says he was tempted as we are tempted, but without sin.  Since he is not trapped in sin, he can free us.  b) He is our Creator and Lord, and only he can forgive sins.  In Mark 2:7, we are reminded that God is the one who can forgive sins.  Jesus demonstrated in Mark 2:1-12, that he has the authority to forgive sins.  The reason he has that authority, is because he is God.  This is why scriptures such as John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-6; Colossians 2:9-10; and 1 John 5:20 make clear that Jesus is God.

2) When We Become Freed.  Romans 6:3-7 says, "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin."

When we are baptized, we are buried with Christ and sin is done away with.  Jesus frees us from our sins.  We are no longer enslaved to sin!

Staying Free

Never again do I need to be entrapped in sin.  As one who walks with Christ, there are three biblical instructions to keep in mind concerning sin

1) Flee from Sin. 
Passages such as 2 Tim 2:22; 1 Tim 6:11; and 1 Cor 6:18; say to "flee" from sin.  Do no flirt with what tempts you.  Do not try to get as close to the edge as possible without stepping over the line.  The only way to be sure that you do not become trapped again is to flee from temptation and sin.  There are warnings in the Bible that point out that it is worse to have been freed from sin and then to be trapped again.  Hebrews 6:4-6 says, "For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance."  2 Peter 2:20-22 says, "For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” "  The warnings are clear, stay far away from the path to sin.

2) Time in the Word. 
In Matthew 4, Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness when he was physically vulnerable.  However, even in the weakness of his flesh, his mind, will, and spirit was strong because he already had a habit of spending time in the word.  Each temptation Satan threw at him was instinctively met with God's word to ward it off.  In our struggle against sin, the Bible tell us to put on the fall armor of God.  Ephesians 6:17 says that part of that equipment is the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."  Satan was successful at fending of the Devil's temptation because he had mastered the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  It is important for us to do so as well.

3) Be with the Brethren. 
The primary reason for the church to assemble together is to encourage and build each other up.  1 Corinthians 14:26 says that "When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification."  This means that we build each other up.  We cannot do this if we do not assemble.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "…let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…"  We need to get together to encourage each other.  It is very difficult to successfully stand up to temptation alone.  Therefore, we need to assemble together regularly so that we can encourage the brethren, and they can encourage us.

What Now?

If I am not a Christian, I need to ask myself if I have allowed Christ to free me from my sin.  Have I accepted him as my crucified and risen savior and Lord?  Have I been buried with him so that he will free me from bondage to my sin.

If I am a Christian, I need to ask myself if I flee from anything that tempts me to be unfaithful to God?  Do I spend prayerful time in the word?  Do I make a habit of forsaking assembling together?  Do I encourage my brethren to faithfulness?

Thank you Lord, for providing a way for freedom!