Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. – Hebrews 2:14-15
Last week I wrote about my experience with an eating disorder. https://seekingdivineperspective.com/2022/08/26/ignorance-is-not-bliss/ The factors at play were all variations of sin – a lack of faith in my Creator, a warped self-image (ingratitude toward my Creator), misplaced priorities, and fear of the opinions of others.
In short, I was a slave to sin, and this slavery was rooted in ignorance of God’s Word.
Scripture tells us we are all “by nature objects of wrath,” (Ephesians 2:3c) held captive by the spiritual chains of our sin nature. But Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
(God wants us free.)
Our enemy, on the other hand, wants to keep us in chains and is (literally) hell bent on keeping us enslaved to sin through ignorance of that Truth.
After twelve years, I was finally set free by knowing and availing myself of God’s promises to me.
Besides slavery to sin, there’s another kind of slavery that keeps us in bondage through ignorance, and it has been rampant during the past couple of years:
Slavery to fear.
In the beginning of 2020, a virus entered our world which radically changed civilization. Viruses, of course, have always been around, some more serious than others. But because this one was deadly to some, and because of some intense publicity, it became a source of sheer terror to many. And there were those who were all too willing to take advantage of the fear and ignorance of others to exert their power over the masses. As lockdowns forced people to remain in their homes, news networks terrorized viewers 24/7 with selective statistics, video footage of chaos and death in hospitals, and forecasts of gruesome scenarios. (Our local news even had an artist’s rendition of the virus which it showed regularly, complete with scary music playing in the background!)
Later statistics showed that more harm was being done by the lockdowns themselves – alcoholism, drug addictions, suicides, domestic abuse, speech and learning delays in children, bankruptcy, homelessness, and mental and emotional problems in virtually every age group.
Whichever side of the debates one was on, the common denominator was FEAR. Fear of becoming sick and dying, or fear of tyranny taking over the country – or both.
During this subtle (or not-so-subtle) attack from the enemy of our souls, believers in Jesus looked to the Lord for the truth that would set us free from the fear that was paralyzing the rest of the world.
Can that Truth set you free? That depends. The truth is good news for some, bad news for others. But knowing it at least gives you a choice. In this case, ignorance is fatal.
The one grass-roots fact that was rarely pointed out was that we are all going to die.
Causes of death are numerous, not just viruses. (A leading cause today is “UCOD” – unknown cause of death. But we won’t go there today …)
Ironically, fear itself can be the cause of death, either directly through the effects of stress on the body, or indirectly, in the ways we try to make the fear go away by “self-medicating.” But the fact remains, sooner or later, we will all die.
Will we die today? Probably not. But we might.
Will we die of a deadly virus? Probably not. But we might.
(Will the world end today? Probably not. But it might.)
The question isn’t, will we die? We know the answer. Will the world end? According to the Bible, yes. The real question is, what happens after that? And meanwhile, will we be slaves to fear and the unhealthy activities we resort to in that fear? Or will we be prepared?
Scripture tells us, “… perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (I John 4:18b) Fear of punishment probably stems from our awareness, whether or not we admit it, that we ” … all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) And if God in His righteousness punishes sinners, what will become of us?
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
If we are not prepared for our death, or the end of this world, we should be afraid! And Satan would love for us to spend the rest of our lives as his ignorant, sinful, terrified slaves, and then spend eternity as he will – in hell.
But Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Life – came to show us how to be prepared, to break those chains, and set us free to live the lives He created us for.
First, Jesus paid for our sins by dying in our place. If you confess your sin to God, He will forgive you and help you live a righteous life. (I John 1:9) You will no longer be a slave to sin.
But our liberation didn’t stop there. Jesus rose from the dead, freeing us from the fear of death! He tells His followers, “Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19b) If you place your faith in Jesus, that promise is yours!
If you’ve been living in slavery to sin or to the fear of death – or both – you can shake off those chains and be free today to live the full and wonderful life God created you for!
Prayer: Lord, You have said that Your people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Thank You for making the Truth available to us through Your Word. Help us to hide it in our hearts, that we can be free from sin and the fear of death. And give us boldness to share the Truth and make others free, as well, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
P.S. If you would like to discuss any of this with me outside the comments section, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t have a Bible and would like one, I would be happy to send you one.