When Will Freedom Come?
by Wayne Blank
It's very obvious what that illustration shows, isn't it. Or is it? Which of these, if any, did you see?
(a) A free man, standing outside in the light, speaking to a prisoner standing in a dark prison cell?
"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members"
We live in a world today in which many people think that they are free, when they really aren't. We live in a world in which people often regard captivity, to sin, as freedom. People can't tell the difference - and it's always been that way.
Consider how that the Israelites, after they had been liberated by the Exodus, while The Lord was fighting their battles for them, while He was leading them to their Promised Land, "a land which floweth with milk and honey," if only they would obey Him, instead wanted to return to their miserable lives of bondage and slavery in Egypt:
"And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt."
The Israelites had been set free, but they didn't recognize their freedom because it involved obeying God. Instead, they wanted to be "free" to return to their pathetic slavery in Egypt. Their rebellion against their freedom cost them their freedom (see A Journey Without A Destination)
Why is it that the Israelites considered a return to miserable slavery better than obeyng The Lord and enjoying all of the blessings that He would then freely give them? Why do so many people today prefer to live in ways that actually make them unhappy, and yet prefer it to obeying God because they think obeying God would make them unhappy? How is it that so many people think that they are free when in reality they are prisoners? Why can't millions of people tell the difference?
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:7-9 KJV)
It's the Holy Spirit of God that makes one want to obey God; without it, no one can obey God, no one will want to obey God. That doesn't mean that those with the Holy Spirit are then free, not yet. The apostle Paul described how and when the liberation will be complete (see the Fact Finder question below). Until then, although God's people are still prisoners, of their mortal bodies, at least they know how to tell the difference between those who will be free, and those who won't.
"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
Paul's question "who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" was rhetorical. He knew the answer (see the Fact Finder question below). Christians (for the surprising origin of the term "Christian," what it actually means, see Christianos) are "prisoners" who look forward to a life sentence, to eternal life, on the day of Judgment (see When Will You Be Judged?).