“You don’t unlock someone’s chains and have them just sit there.”
Hearing those words a week ago, I was kinda floored. Not because this is a foreign idea… I mean, when someone is freed, they are meant to be free. “It is for freedom that you have been set free.”
Think about it: Somebody’s sitting in a dungeon. They been there for weeks, months, years. No real human contact, just food pushed across the floor. Chains that originally bit into wrists and ankles. A thin, weak body too frail to move, even if the chains were gone. In fact, those shackles that were once so tight now are almost loose enough to slip over hands and feet. But not quite. And so he sits there, wasting away. There is no hope.
Then, the dungeon’s door creaks open slowly. A man walks in, bends down, and unlocks the chains. The prisoner has been set free. The man who released the chains begins to heal the prisoner–now the Rescued– feeding him good food and nursing him back to health. Soon, the Rescued is well. The Liberator holds out his hand, standing by the door.
Now. We have 2 options. Let’s explore them one at a time.
The Rescued can remain in the dungeon. His chains are gone, he can move about the room, and the food deliveries are much more accessible now. The Liberator goes on his way after waiting a while. The dungeon door stands open. Yet the Rescued remains. He sits on the floor–chains by his side–and glances occasionally at the open door… But he never steps out. Is he really free?
The Rescued reaches for the Liberator’s hand. He follows the Liberator out of the dungeon and into the light. He begins life again. One step at a time he learns to be free. Sometimes he glances back at the dungeon; in fact, some days he goes running as fast as he can to get back to the dungeon. But then he remembers the darkness, the hunger, the pain, the loneliness. He remembers being helpless and feeling worthless. Even on days when the dungeon sounds good, the Liberator beckons for the Rescued to follow. And the Rescued does. Not perfectly or even well… but he follows. The Liberator loves and protects his Rescued. The Rescued trusts and loves The Liberator. Is the Rescued free here?
There are the 2 options. Either the Rescued leaves the dungeon or he does not. Which option is freedom? Certainly not the first! The Rescued is still in the dungeon. The second option is freedom. The Rescued has left the dungeon. Some days the Rescued doesn’t act like he’s free, but he grows in his freedom. He chases after the Liberator because he owes his life and freedom to him. The Rescued loves the Liberator–who first came, loved the Rescued, and rescued him.
In other words, “everyone who commits sin is a slave [or prisoner] to sin” but “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:35-36). It is “for freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). The dungeons of slavery are deep and dark, yet they draw us in. When the Son comes to save us, when He looses are chains, we often choose to remain in the dungeon, enjoying our sin. Though we have laid claim to the freedom that Christ brings, we do not live in freedom. Yet Christ has called us to a free, abundant, abiding life. When we leave our sin behind, not in our own strength but in the strength He gives, we step out of the dungeon and into His marvelous light.
Dios te bendiga.