by Matt Slick
Are you a slave? There are two kinds of slaves we can choose to be according to the Bible. First, 2 Pet. 2:19 says, "...by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved." Second, 1 Cor. 7:22 says, "For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave."
Before we were Christians, a great many of us followed the lusts of our heart--indulging in our flesh, our egos, and our desires. We were slaves to these lusts and answered their call and all the while thinking that it was we who were in control. But, what benefit were we deriving from those things that we are now ashamed of? I see no benefit. Rom. 6:21 says, "Therefore, what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death." The truth is that being a slave to sin brings nothing but bondage, suffering, and sin.
But now, by the grace of God, we are set free from the enslavement of our passions. We are called of the Lord, freedmen, the slaves of Christ. I would rather be the slave of Christ than a slave of my flesh. The former brings joy and peace. The later brings pain and anguish.
Which are you? Which do you want to be? It is a good idea to periodically sit back and analyze your relationship with God. First of all, are you saved? Have you trusted in the sacrifice of Christ alone, who is God in flesh, for the forgiveness of your sins? Are you are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1)? Have you received Jesus (John 1:12)? Do you rely in no way on your own effort to be saved (Rom. 4:5)? If so, then praise God. But, if you have not done this, then you are still a slave to your sins--whether you believe it or not--and are on your way to eternal damnation.
However, if you are a Christian and still struggle with some of the sins of your past, there is comfort for you. First, you must understand that God still loves you and forgives you--because of Jesus. Second, you must realize that you are not saved by your "staying good." You are saved by grace--not by your sustained goodness and obedience. Third, you must continue to war against your sin and confess it to the Lord--each and every time you fall. Fourth, you must, by faith, receive the forgiveness of Jesus and not guilt-whip yourself into a false sense of "penance" in a morbid attempt to appease God by making yourself suffer so as to be found worthy to be with God. There is nothing you can do to be found worthy to God. All your worth is found in Jesus. You must look to Him and to Him alone for your salvation and your sanctification. You must throw yourself completely upon Jesus and trust Him alone--for everything.
Jesus is the one who you must seek. Spend regular time with Him in prayer asking for strength, for deliverance, and faith. Remember that Jesus is gentle and kind. He loves you and desires fellowship with you. Go to Him in all things.