Josh McDowell explains how Jesus died to set us free from the slavery of sin.
Bible Reading: Romans 8:5-9
You are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit (Romans 8:9).
Alrika hadn't believed the rumors about people snatched from their huts and abducted to an unknown land until it happened to her. Chained for months in the dungeon like hull of a ship, the young girl feared she would die in slavery. After she endured years of cruelty and hard labor, the Union army of the northern United States marched into her town. Now an officer in a blue uniform stands before her. “You are no longer controlled by your master,” he says. “You are free.”
Talk about it: What would it feel like to be a girl or boy in bondage as a slave—and then to be set free?
You didn’t come to America chained in the hull of a slave ship, though maybe your ancestors did.
But all of us, the Bible says, have experienced a different kind of slavery. We were born as slaves to sin. All of us are stuck in evil we can’t escape on our own. The only way we can get free is to ask for Jesus’ help and forgiveness.
It might be hard to believe that we are slaves to sin. But here’s one way to be sure: Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to do evil than to do good? When your parents find a broken lamp in the living room, it usually seems easier to lie and say you didn’t break it than to tell the truth and admit what you did. It’s easy to choose wrong, because we are slaves to sin.
But the great news in Romans 8 is that Jesus changed all that. When we trusted him, we were set free from slavery to sin. Because of the power of God’s Holy Spirit living inside us, we don’t have to sin anymore. Yes, we will sin from time to time. We will still be tempted to do wrong. We will sometimes give in because of our own weakness. But we don’t have to sin. We can choose to be controlled by the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of God living inside of us—instead of by sin. We are free.
Sin is bigger than a bad habit. We can’t break loose by making a New Year’s resolution. Sin is a disease we can’t cure on our own.
God knew the perfect solution to our problem. We needed a Savior (Jesus) to die for us and a Helper (the Holy Spirit) to live inside us. Thanks to God, we are free from sin. Aren't you grateful?
TALK: What does it mean to be controlled by the Holy Spirit? What is different about your life, because the Holy Spirit is at work inside you?
PRAY: Jesus, you died to set us free from sin. We want your freedom in every area of our life.
ACT: Learn more about what it meant to American slaves to be set free. Look for books on slavery at your local library.