Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Recognition, part 19: Recidivists in Sin

But I tell you of a truth, There are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:27 ASV)

And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:30-31 NASB)

Jesus had said some of them would see the Kingdom of God, and that is exactly what was happening, or would be when the sleepy disciples awakened. What they would have been hearing was a heavenly conversation that we would do well to consider. Moses and Elijah were speaking with Jesus about the upcoming completion of his earthly ministry and the redemptive finale that would purchase our pardon, yours and mine, from the sin in which we have spent a lifetime. "He came to set us free" is what we often say, but more accurately, Jesus gave us the option to be free. He redeemed us, but we must accept that gift of redemption. He unlocked our prison doors, but we must choose to leave our prison. 

There are some people in our society who, once imprisoned for a crime, find that it is preferable, in some very peculiar way, to be imprisoned than to be free. On the outside, they are responsible for making good (or bad) decisions, earning a living, providing for their own daily needs. In prison, it is done for them. It may not be in the style to which they would prefer to be accustomed, but there is a certain security in it. On the "outside", one crime is followed by another, one prison term after another. We sometimes call those people "institutionalized" or "recidivists".

 Unfortunately, we can become "institutionalized" to our prison of sin, preferring to keep our bad habits, our poor choices rather than undertake the radical change that discipleship would require. We shake our heads in amazement at "recidivists" in crime, but are we not recidivists in sin? Do we not go back, time after time, to the sin that so easily besets us? 

If Jesus came to set us free (and He did), if Jesus completely accomplished the redemption for which He came (and He did), why are we not free? Why do we not get up in the morning asking our Lord for victory over every sin? It was what Jesus intended of His disciples. If He set us free, He told the disciples, we would be free indeed. He has set us free and it is up to us to choose freedom. 

We would do well to ask in what areas are we failing to accept the freedom Christ can bring? In what areas are we choosing to remained controlled by our own fleshly desires? We can be free. Christ died to set us free. May we be so tired of being recidivists in sin that we willingly embrace the freedom that Jesus won with the cross and the empty tomb. We were not born free, but, through Christ, we can live free, and we should. 

Dear ones, we live in a world that is imprisoned by sin and guilt. We know the One who can set them free, and it is our responsibility and great opportunity to live free. A lost world looks to us for an example of the freedom that only Christ can give. Let's be sure they see a freedom worth having.