IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: WE HAVE UNFETTERED FREEDOM FROM THE GREAT LIBERATOR OF MEN
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
— John 8:36
Political slavery is an intolerable evil. To live, to think, to act, to speak, at the permission of another! Better have no life at all! To depend for my existence upon a despot’s will is death itself. Craven spirits may wear the dog-collar which their master puts upon them, and fawn at his feet for the bones of his table, but men who are worthy of the name, had rather feed the vultures on the battle-field. The burden of civil bondage is too heavy for bold spirits to bear with patience, and therefore they fret and murmur beneath it; this murmuring the tyrant loves not, and therefore he throws the sufferers into his dungeons, and bids them wear out their days in captivity. Blessed is he who hurls down the despot, bursts the doors of his dungeons, and gives true men their rights. We have never felt, and therefore we know not the bitterness of thralldom.
Our emancipators have gone to the world of spirits, bequeathing us an heirloom of liberty, for which we should love their names and reverence their God. If they could have lived on till now, how we should honour them! but as they are gone, we do well to applaud our illustrious guest as if we saw in him the spirit of all our glorious liberators worthily enshrined. Political liberty allows scope for so much of all that is good and ennobling, and its opposite involves so much that is debasing, that the mightiest nation destitute of it is poor indeed, and the poorest of all people, if they be but free, are truly rich.
But, my brethren, men may have political liberty to the very fullest extent, and yet be slaves, for there is such a thing as religious bondage; he who cringes before a priest— he who dreads his anathema, or who creeps at his feet to receive his blessing, is an abject slave. He may call himself a freeman, but his soul is in bondage vile, if superstition makes him wear the chain. To be afraid of the mutterings of a man like myself — to bow before a piece of wood or a yard of painted canvas— to reverence a morsel of bread or a rotten bone, this is mental slavery indeed. They call the negro slave in the Southern Confederacy, but men who prostrate their reason before the throne of superstition, are slaves through and through. To yield obedience to our Lord, to offer prayer to God Most High is perfect freedom; but to tell my heart out to a mortal with a shaven crown — to trust my family secrets and my wife’s character to the commands of a man who may be all the while wallowing in debauchery, is worse than the worst form of serfdom. I would sooner serve the most cruel Sultan who ever crushed humanity beneath his iron heel than bow before the Pope or any other priest of man’s making. The tyranny of priestcraft is the worst of ills. Ye may cut through the bonds of despots with a sword, but the sword of the Lord himself is needed here. Truth must file these fetters and the Holy Spirit must open these dungeons. Ye may escape from prison, but superstition hangs round a man, and with its deadly influence keeps him ever in its dark and gloomy cell. Scepticism which proposes to snap the chains of superstition only supplants a blind belief with an unhallowed credulity, and leaves the victim as oppressed as ever. Jesus the Son alone can make men truly free. Happy are they whom he has delivered from superstition. Blessed are our eyes that this day we see the light of gospel liberty, and are no longer immured in Popish darkness. Let us remember our privileges and bless God with a loud voice, that the darkness is past and the true light shineth, since the name of Jesus, the preaching of his Word and the power of his truth have, in this respect, in a high degree, made our nations free.
“To proclaim liberty to the captives.”
— Isaiah 61:1.
Wherever slavery exists, it is an awful curse; and the abolition of it is an unspeakable blessing. All free men should praise God, and especially those whom Christ has made free, for they are “free indeed.”!
Jesus Christ has come, as the Great Liberator, “to proclaim liberty to the captives.” There is no question about that emancipation.
Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, has himself come, with divine authority,— authority never to be questioned or disputed,— to proclaim liberty from the slavery of sin and Satan. When there was a royal proclamation to be made in the olden times, they used to employ men to go with trumpets through the streets of the city, and to the villages and towns in the country, to summon the people to the market cross, to hear the king’s message. That is what I am here for; to sound the gospel trumpet as best as I can, and to make this proclamation: “O yes, O yes, in the name of the great King of kings, there is liberty for the bond slaves of Satan, deliverance for those who are under captivity to sin.” I am going to proclaim that good news with all my might, and with joyful earnestness to tell the slaves of sin and Satan that there is liberty for them through the Great Emancipator, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Christ has not come to work out for you a deliverance which will take hours, days, weeks, or months, to complete; he has come to knock your fetters off with a single stroke, and to set you free at once.
“As for you also, by the blood of your covenant I have set forth your prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto you.”
Zechariah 9:11, 12
The position of a poor captive, sitting down on a stone at the bottom of a deep, dirty pit, is a very apt picture of the state of man by nature. When he is really awakened to a sense of his true position, he finds that this is the very image of where he is. He is put in that prison by the Law of God. He feels that he has broken the Law and that the Law must punish him. Conscience builds huge walls harder than granite around him–and when he tries to find a way of escape, there is none that he can discover. He realizes that the Judge of all the earth must abhor iniquity and must punish sin. In addition to that, sin has put him in that prison, for, though he has mourned over his sin since he was even partly awakened, yet he cannot cease from sin any more than the Ethiopian can change his skin or the leopard his spots! Like the big stone over the mouth of the well, his tendency to sin and his corruptions shut him in. He cannot lift that stone–he is a prisoner to his own evil desires and depraved heart and, at the same time, a prisoner lawfully detained, under a warrant from the High Court of Heaven by the officers of Divine Justice.
But when we were shut up in the pit by our own sin and by Divine Justice, there was no water there. Do you remember when you tried to drink at the cistern of human ceremonies and found that it was filled with brine which increased your thirst instead of slaking it? You sought next to drink of what you thought was the water of your self-righteousness–but you were like a pilgrim on the desert sands who sees the deceptive mirage–limpid streams and crystal fountains before his eyes, but when he presses forward to drink of them, he finds nothing there but the burning sand! Some of us were duped and deluded, for a while, with the vain hope of accomplishing our own salvation, but it all turned to nothing and we were still in the pit wherein was no water. Oh, what numerous devil’s agents there are about trying to cheat poor souls who are in this pit with the notion that they can supply them with water in the pit and that they can remain there–that they can continue unforgiven and unrenewed–and still enjoy true comfort! But that is an idle tale! No, more–it is a fatal delusion! There might as well be found water in Hell as true comfort for a soul that realizes its guilt and fears the thunders of the wrath of God, yet is not reconciled to God by the death of His Son. Apart from that Living Water which Jesus came to bring, such a soul is truly in “the pit wherein is no water.”
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We are out of this pit by right. We did not break out of prison contrary to the Law of God–we have the right to be out because the debts for which we were imprisoned, are all paid–a full Atonement has been offered for the sins for which we were put in prison! There has been a complete expiation made, wide as the sin of all the Lord’s people, and as vast as the demands of infinite and inflexible Justice. Every child of God is justly saved! It would have been eternal injustice if any soul for whom the Savior stood as a Substitute could die by the sword of Divine Justice. But that can never be–
But, dear Friends, we are free by might, as well as by right, for that same Jesus who bought our liberty for us, has secured it to us. Those grim prison walls He has thrown down by His own pierced hands. Those black shades of darkness that surrounded us, He has chased away by His own glorious manifestation as our Sun of Righteousness! It is the Lord, the Liberator, who has set His people free! Therefore, if you are among them, rend the heavens with your joyful shouts, you liberated ones! By the blood of the Covenant you are set free by the almighty “Breaker” who has come to break down your prison walls and to make you “free indeed”
When God sends us forth out of prison, who can send us back? When He says, “Let there be light,” who can create darkness? When He says to me, “Be free,” who can chain me up again? Let all the hosts of Hell surround me–as the Philistines surrounded poor blind Samson–my soul shall say with David, “They compassed me about; yes, they compassed me about; but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.” When Christ makes a man free, it is not with a temporary liberty, to last for a month, or a year–but Christ’s emancipated slaves can never be enslaved again! Redeemed by His precious blood, the Redemption is not temporary, but eternal!
God’s Grace makes free–all others are slaves! No earthly power can bring real freedom to the soul–it is Grace and Grace, alone, that brings it by the blood of the Covenant! And where that freedom comes, no form of bondage can make a man a slave.
“There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel’s veins
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains!I do believe, I will believe,That Jesus died for me, That on the Cross He shed His blood From sin to set me free.”
Leave out the atoning Sacrifice and it would be better for the people that the places in which a Christless, bloodless Gospel is preached, should be all burnt to the ground, for the atoning Sacrifice is the soul and life and marrow of Christianity! Rest in that and you are saved! But get away from that and you have wandered where peace and life and safety can never come! God Almighty bless you, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.
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