For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God... Romans 8:15-16
I grew up quite religious. I went to
a religious school, and literally won the “Religion Award” eight of the nine
years I attended. To me, being a Christian meant following all the rules: not
doing anything bad, and trying to do or be good.
However, there was an aspect of being
the “good kid” that troubled me. It’s that I wasn’t actually very good. I knew
enough about the “rules” to understand that I was breaking them regularly.
It got worse as I grew older, until
eventually I gave up any pretense of even trying. Odds are, whatever you’ve
done, I’ve probably done it too. Sex, pornography, alcohol, drugs, materialism,
arrest record—all the usual suspects. I eventually became a slave to the things
that I wanted the freedom to pursue. As a young adult living in Dallas,
TX, I would still go to church occasionally. I went out of obedience and
superstition. I was almost always hung over from the night before, and felt
terrible—both because of the hangover, and because it was a reminder of how
hopelessly far I had fallen. I had been a slave to keeping the
rules and now I was a slave to breaking them. Slavery, of any kind, is no
There is an anecdotal story of man in
the 1800s who went down to the auction block as slaves were being auctioned
off. A young woman stood shackled and chained in the middle of the block as the
people bid for her. The man did
also. He continued to bid, and eventually won her as his property. He went to
claim her, and as he unchained her, he said:
“Young lady, you are free.”
She said “Free? What do you mean
free? Am I free to do whatever I want to do?”
“Yes, ma’am. You are free to do
whatever you want to do,” he replied.
“Am I free to say whatever I want to
say?” she asked.
“Yes, you are free to say whatever you
want to say”, he answered.
“Am I free to go wherever I want to
go?” she asked with tears of hope forming in her eyes.
“Yes, you are free to go wherever you
want to go”, he told her.
With tears now streaming down her
face, she said, “then, Sir, I will go with you.”
The story I heard ends there, but
here’s the next scene as this relates to us and The Father. He would say, “Ok,
if you go with me, then I will lead you to the freedom of life everlasting. Every instruction I give you will be for your
good. You can follow me with joy, knowing that I want the very best for you.
You are now my child.”
You are God’s child, not God’s slave.
It is very important that we understand how this relationship works so that we
reap the full benefit of knowing The Father through The Son.
Slavery says, “do what I ask for my
benefit”. Sonship says, “do what I ask for your benefit.”
Slavery says, “work the estate out of
obligation.” Sonship says, “work the estate, because it will be your
Slavery says, “do what I say or else
you will be harmed.” Sonship says, “do what I say and you will be
If we go to God solely out of
obedience we are more slaves than sons and daughters. Spiritual maturity is not just knowledge of and obedience to
God, but also the enjoyment of Him. This is the freedom that Christ
Yes, there are places where the
scripture calls us slaves to righteousness. This is the powerful idea that we
have received the righteousness of God. Here’s what that means, you don’t have
to be afraid. Listen closely beloved, you can stop living in fear. Fear of man. Fear of
being found out. Fear of being punished by God. He has called you His son, His
daughter. So, as you walk in
relationship with Him, you are free to confess sin openly. It no longer has
power over you. The penalty for your sin fell on Christ. You can live with the hope of being with God
forever as His child, and one day soon you will be in His Kingdom without the
presence of sin.
Your application today is to confess
sin, because you are no longer a slave to it. Tell someone what you’ve done and
how you are struggling. Ask them to pray for you (James 5:16), and pursue
You’re no longer a slave to fear. You are a child of God.