If we want to have a better world, repent of our sins and Christ Jesus will set us free from sin . .
Have you noticed that within recent times there is an increase of anxiety in many people? Have you noticed that this anxiety is no longer restricted to a particular age group or a particular class? Have you noticed that everyone regardless of race, color, creed, or gender seems to be in a great hurry, and in many instances going nowhere really fast? Have you noticed that we seem to have been overtaken by a sense of self-centeredness? It’s all about me, myself and I. Whoever gets hurt in the process; well too bad!
The Bible reminds us that Adam and Eve left the human race in the power of sin. We see this in Romans chapter 7 verses 14 to 25. This tendency to sin as described in this scripture passage can be referred to as slavery.
Everyone is enslaved to something. The Bible encourages us to be slaves to Christ Jesus, but the strange Paradox is that in being a slave to Him, we experience a freedom like we’ve never known before. The tragedy is that many are enslaved not to Christ Jesus, but to sin.
Behind all of the pain in our world is sin. At the heart of the economic woes of the impoverished nations is sin; the greed of one man or one group of men. At the heart of the mass exodus of people from one country to another seeking refugee status is sin. Sin is at the heart of all of our world’s pain. So, if we want to see a better world, then we have to deal with our sins.
The difference between slavery to Christ Jesus, and being a slave to sin is that when we are slaves to Christ Jesus, he sets us free. However, when we are slaves to sin, there is a compulsion in us and an inability to stop sinning. We are therefore not free but slaves to sin. We experienced a kind of helplessness in the face of temptation. We have to get the latest device. We feel compelled to do things that we know we ought not to do. The end result is that our consciences become numb and very soon what was once a clear demarcation between what is right and wrong becomes all blurred. Everything becomes okay. The real problem with this type of slavery is that it leads to a great sense of loss and brokenness. We are never contented and are constantly running after the next fix, only to be lost even more and become further disenchanted and enslaved.
It is not sufficient to know that we should stop doing the wrong things that we do. We need the power to help us stop. That power does not come on its own. That power is not something that we can buy, and it is not something that we can will into being . That power can only be found in Jesus Christ. It is He who will set us free.
In the Gospel of John chapter 8 verses 34 to 36, Jesus makes it quite clear that when we commit sin we are slaves to sin, and that we would not be free until He sets us free. It is Jesus who gives us the power to say no to sin if we really want to say no. It is Jesus who comes and breaks the grip or the stranglehold that sin has on us. We cannot do this on our own. It is Jesus who breaks the compulsion that we experience. This is what St. Luke meant when he wrote in Chapter 4 verse 18;
“the spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to the blind new site, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor.”
It is only Jesus who can set us free. We cannot do it on our own. To think that we can, is fooling ourselves and setting ourselves up for an even greater fall, as in many instances, we will slip deeper into sin. It is only Jesus who can set us free.
Let us for example, take a look at the sin of addiction. This could be addiction to drugs, to alcohol, to pornography, to gambling, to gossip, to whatever! No amount of talking or reasoning, no amount of will-power will break that addiction. It may work for a little while, but because the sin is greater than the sinner, it will come back again. To break the sin, we need something or rather Someone who is greater than the sin. That Someone is Jesus Christ.
The power of Jesus to break the chains of sin, is deeply embedded in his nature, and part of his mission, which did not end at Calvary. Jesus’ mission extends into eternity! We see Jesus’ mission very early in the gospel of Matthew, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. The angel said, “she will give birth to a son, and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who will save his people from their sins.” The angel was very clear on what Jesus’ mission was. He came so that he can set us free from the one thing that separated us from our Father’s Love – that is sin.
We must never make the mistake of under estimating the power of sin in our lives, even in the lives of good people. This resistance to goodness is our universal human experience. Sin is strong until the one who is infinitely stronger comes on the scene. Sin is boss until the one who will save his people from their sins – the King of kings and the Lord of lords – takes over. Even as a good person, never make the mistake of under estimating sin, and thinking that you can handle it. You may well find that you are playing Russian roulette with your soul. Allow the Light of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world to enter into the situation.
People in the grip of sin need freedom. They need to be set free. The free man is the man who can decide to do what he knows is right and pleasing to God, even though his feelings may be putting him in the opposite direction. That is true freedom! Anything else is enslavement. If I have to drink and get drunk, I am not free. If I am compelled to curse and be abusive, I am not free. If I have to be a womanizer, then I am not free. If I have to gossip, I am not free. If I have to be part of a gang, I am not free. True freedom is even though the desire is there, I by the grace of God choose not to sin. That is freedom!
This freedom that we experience in Christ Jesus does not mean that we will no longer be tempted to sin. Temptation will always remain as part of the reality of the Christian Life. It is one of the crosses that we must bear. We will however experience a new power to say no to the invitation to sin. Sin will no longer have dominion over us when Jesus Christ becomes the most important part of our lives.
So, how do I turn away from sin? How do I become free from the power of sin? The answer is that you have to accept Christ Jesus as your Lord and your Saviour. What exactly does this mean? Let us break it down.
Accepting Christ Jesus as Lord – by this is meant to place no-one and nothing ahead of Christ Jesus. He must be the single most important person in your lives. You must live to please Him and Him first and foremost. You must come to know who Jesus is and this is done by reading and praying the Bible. When we spend time reading the Bible and in prayer, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then all that is in the dark – sin – will be subjected to the glorious Light of Christ Jesus.
As your Saviour – We acknowledge that just as there is good and there is evil, there is also Heaven and there is hell. Accepting Christ Jesus as Saviour is to acknowledge that we cannot attain the things of Heaven on our own. We cannot get into Heaven by ourself. We can only do so through Christ Jesus.
As Catholics, we have been blessed with gifts or should I say weapons that will help us to deal effectively with sin in our lives – if used correctly. One of these weapons is confession. When we go to confession and are truly sorry for our sins, we receive something that is intangible, but mighty against the power of sin. We receive the grace to say no to sin. We receive the grace to detest sin and in so doing sin loses its stranglehold on us.
Another powerful weapon that we have against sin as Catholics is the Holy Eucharist. In the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus gives himself to us. The same Jesus who saves his people from their sins; the same Jesus who laid down his life freely so that we may have life; that same Jesus, gives himself to us in the Most Holy Eucharist. Regularly attending Mass, and receiving the Eucharist in a state of Grace, is a very powerful antidote to sin.
So to summarize; sin is in our human nature. Sin enslaves us and leads us to eternal damnation; for the Word of God reminds us that the wages of sin is death. Jesus on the other hand sets us free, free from sin and grants us the grace to live in true freedom. If we truly want to see a better world, if we truly want to experience happiness, then we must accept Jesus Christ into our lives and take his ways and make them ours.