[The following devotional was written by Wildwood Community Church Student Pastor Jonathan Holmes and is a part of our 2014 Advent Devotional Guide. We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between November 30 – December 31, 2014.]
Christmas Belonging by Jonathan Holmes
Read: Romans 6:16-23, 7:4, 14:7-8
Many people dream of total independence. They believe that they determine their own reality and belong entirely to themselves. The dreamers believe they are like birds flying in complete freedom because they aren’t restricted by the path of others before them. With big eyes they spread their wings into the open air and dream of being totally independent from God and from man.
“But Jesus had a word for people who thought that way. He said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But they responded, “We . . . have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” So Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:32-34).
The Bible gives no reality to fallen humans who are ultimately self-determining. There is no autonomy in the fallen world. We are governed by sin or governed by God. “You are slaves of the one whom you obey. . . . When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. . . . But now . . . you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God” (Romans 6:16, 20, 22).
Most of the time we are free to do what we want. But we are not free to want what we ought. For that we need a new power based on a divine purchase. The power is God’s. Which is why the Bible says, “Thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart” (Romans 6:17). God is the one who may “grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26)(Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, John Piper 64-65).”
The divine purchase all began in the manger. It was in the manger that our freedom began. The God-man, Jesus Christ, came to purchase our freedom not to give us autonomy from God, but to give us a new life spent in relationship with our Creator and Savior.
- In what way does sin seek to enslave us?
- In what way are we free in Christ?
- Thank God for giving you freedom in Him.