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Pointers along the way #736

Freedom from bondage

- Jacob Ninan

Jesus came to fulfil this promise of God, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favourable year of the Lord" (Lk.4:18,19) which Isaiah had prophesied (Is.61:1,2). The Jews thought that the Messiah would come and liberate them from the rule of the Romans, and they rejected the real Messiah. Many people now expect Jesus to deliver them from the bondage of situations they are in physical, financial, relational, work-related, etc., and that is just like the Jews of Jesus' days! Many times they get frustrated with Jesus because He doesn't meet their expectations!

Jesus came primarily to save us from our sins not just the punishment for sins but even the power of sin itself in our life (Mt.1:21). If this is not the Saviour we are looking for, we are likely to be disappointed. Jesus said that all these other things that people were usually seeking would be given to us if we were seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness first (Mt.6:33). The kingdom of God is in our life if God is king there, to the extent we allow Him to rule over our life. His righteousness is pure and holy and that is what He wants to transform us into (Ro.8:29).

One of the things God does when a sinner comes to Him repenting of his sins is to wash away his sins with the blood of Jesus Christ, and to give him a new heart (Is.1:18;Ez.36:26). Giving us a new heart is done by letting the seed of God be born in our spirit through the work of the Holy Spirit (1Jn.3:8,9). This 'seed' is observed in a hatred for sin which we didn't have earlier, and this is what distinguishes us from those who are not born again (v.7).

If we think we are born again believers and followers of Jesus Christ but we are not keen on overcoming sinful bondages in our personal life, we must realise that we are not born again in the proper way. It may be that we have never seen ourselves as sinners in the eyes of God who deserve hell, and we have not gone to Him seeking for mercy. Our confession of Jesus as our Saviour may have been just nominal without understanding what that means practically, or our heart was not really there. In that case there may be frequent falling into sin without moving towards victory over it, there may be bondages in the mind (thinking, feeling, choices) which cause our behaviour to be unlike Christ, or there may be even demonic influences in our life. The genuine child of God seeks to be set free, but the others blame everyone else, circumstances and even God for the things that are happening to them and remain bound.

But we don't have to remain in such bondages. Jesus has come to set us free (Ro.6:14;8:12). But we need to seek Him and want victory. He can't help those who won't acknowledge their need and seek His salvation. That would be tragic.

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