“Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’” John 8:34–36

Americans, as a general rule, do not fully grasp the value of our inherited freedoms passed down from our forefathers. It is no wonder that Christians struggle in their witnessing to communicate the inestimable value found in the soul freedom gained through trusting Christ. In many cases the “witnesser” does not appreciate his freedom from sin and its tyranny.

Our forefathers seem to use the word liberty more often than we use the word freedom. I believe it was because they knew the shackles of tyranny they had been under and treasured liberty because they had been set free from tyranny—they had been set at liberty. Freedom, on the other hand, is the state in which we, their descendants, live. We must guard ourselves against tyranny in order to maintain our freedoms. We really do have a gift of living in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

On a spiritual level, Jesus Christ died to set us at liberty by defeating the tyranny of sin in our lives. The state in which a believer lives is freedom, but he must always be on guard against the encroachment of sin’s tyrannies.

This principle is hard for a sinner to grasp. He may understand sin’s hold on him, especially if he has visibly made a wreck of his life through substance abuse or through his own poor decisions. A sinner who is not awakened to his lostness is generally very comfortable in sin; just as a citizen of an overbearing regime, he knows no other life.

Then, as God quickens his understanding, the sinner may begin to catch a glimpse of the promise of another life in Christ. But, like the Israelite slaves in Egypt, he may be frightened by how tough and uncharted life is in the light, and languish under an even heavier burden of sin’s demolition. Fallen human nature being what it is, he will be constantly drawn back to the old, familiar, destructive, evil taskmaster that delights in torturing his soul. Sin’s wage is death!

John 8 is one of those powerful chapters that contains dramatic truths. One such truth is Jesus’ claim to be fully God (verse 23). This truth stands in opposition to another truth, that Satan is the spiritual father of all men until Christ rescues an individual and he is adopted as a son of God (verse 44). Sandwiched in between these revelations is our passage quoted above.

In verse 31 our Lord challenges the religious leaders of His day with the fact that they need to abide in His word in order to be His disciples and then they will know the truth and the truth will make them free. His Jewish hearers thought they were already free due to their heritage as descendants of Abraham and, therefore, among God’s chosen people. They did not think they needed to be “free.” In other words, they could not conceive of true spiritual freedom obtained only through Christ. They were happy in their sin—their taskmaster since birth.

Our Lord’s challenge to them is that sinning declares you are a slave of sin! One of the prime instructions to give someone wavering between forsaking sin and committed obedience to Christ is the fact that sin is a slave master! You do not control sin, it controls you and the penalty is eternal death in Hell. Sonship in God’s household is everything. A son belongs in his father’s house and he has his father’s nature. A slave will never share the householder’s nature. Spiritually, if a man trusts Christ, his nature will be transformed into that of a son of God. He will resemble the Son of God. The new believer will see sin in a new light. Sin will become distasteful and repugnant. He will see his personal sin as a betrayal of the Lord who bought him (Hebrews 10:29).

There are several passages you can keep in mind as you witness to a sinner. 1 John 2:15f reads, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Yielding to Christ today is always best!

Galatians 6:7f reads, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Back in 5:19ff Paul describes what sowing to the flesh looks like: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like…those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Believe and repent without delay for today is the day of salvation! Trust and obey.