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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Trapped, Enslaved - And The Path To Freedom

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Trapped, Enslaved - And The Path To Freedom! - Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.


Some traps are worse than others! To get caught out in a minor argument may be annoying, but you'll get over it! To be trapped down a deep mineshaft in Chile or a Chinese coalmine, or on the sea bed in a submarine, or even in a crashed automobile, these are something else - horrific and traumatic experiences, depending on whether an escape was possible or not. Then take the rise in human trafficking and the terrible psychological lure and intrigue in the traps that are laid before people and into which they fall.
Some people are trapped by poverty, drugs and addictive lifestyles. We could go on. Today, large numbers of people are being ensnared and trapped in innumerable clandestine webs of deceit.
• INSIDIOUS 

But I want to suggest that many people are caught in the most insidious trap and are not even aware of it. What do I mean? Here is a case in point. One day Jesus threw out a challenge to his hearers, 'everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin' (John 8:34). A lot of people protest when they hear that - yes, it may apply to some unfortunates, but the vast majority of "us" good-living people are obviously excluded! Long ago king Solomon asked God to forgive the sin of his people, and then said, 'for there is no one who does not sin' (1 Kings 8:46). A bit condemnatory? What do you think? Is Solomon showing off his moral superiority by a display of his self-righteous condescension? Not at all - he knows SIN is a reality. He knows that 'sin' is missing the mark in relation to God's perfect moral standard and is essentially against HIM - and we have all sinned. This is not good news, and in fact it represents a problem of the utmost gravity.

• ANARCHY! 

In any analysis of a problem, the more clearly one understands its nature, its causes and consequences, generally there is more chance of finding a workable solution for it. This is why God's word, the Bible, give such penetrating descriptions of how the historic Genesis 'Fall' of our first parents into moral anarchy right back at the beginning has had such shocking reverberations down through history. Listen to Paul, whose life was wonderfully transformed by the risen Lord, as he exposes the grief-stricken moral decadence of the ancient world, with which he was so familiar.

• GUILTY 

Paul, writing to the Romans, who knew a lot about organised society and culture, explains that even though mankind in general (and without the Bible) knew about God's 'eternal power and divine nature' from the clear evidences in the created order - 'in the things that have been made' - yet knowing all this and more, they dishonoured God and became futile in their thinking and darkened in their understanding. Instead of honouring God, they plunged into idolatry - the worship and veneration of created things and exchanged the truth for lies and became besotted with sinful behaviours, for which their bodies were never made. And sinking still deeper, as into a deep pit of slime and mire, they sank into corruption and immorality of every kind, losing in the process much of their noble humanity, becoming filled with envy, murder, deceit and ruthless behaviours. This is only a brief summary (see Romans 1:18-32 for more detail and context). 

And if you think this sort of exposure sounds judgemental, have a second thought and consider how courageous and compassionate Paul was to share with people the seriousness of their position, before explaining the way out. After all, many thought that if they threw off all moral restraint that this was the path to true freedom and happiness. To any such, Jesus' words about slavery caused a jolt that sometimes turned to anger.
• CONFUSION 

This diagnosis is urgently needed today because our Western societies are saturated with much of this neo-pagan thinking, now overlaid with popular evolutionary belief. Don't get me wrong! I am not against science per se, but neo-Darwinian biological evolution is a patronising naturalistic ideology - no wonder confusion is rampant wherever ideas of evolution get a hold of people's minds. Part of the tragedy now is that instead of seeing all of the sinful, dehumanising behaviours as shocking and abnormal and that people are still of great value and of eternal significance, but lost from God - instead human behaviours are seen merely as our natural climb out of the slime! And instead of grasping the God-given diagnosis of our condition and seeing how it points towards his wonderful remedy, people are inclined to think that the Apostle Paul is attacking our freedom with religious prejudice - when nothing could be further from the truth!

• HOPE 

So, let's try and get this straight. Sin is a deep moral rebellion that has invaded our lives at the deepest level, and we cannot shake ourselves free of it. We are naturally slaves to sin. As such, we have broken God's law, 'Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness' (1 John 3:4). Into this hopeless situation that calls for God's just judgement, hope came! One final remedy from one source. God came himself in the Person of his sinless Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He came as perfect Man and glorious God, and as such, freely and in great compassion, he went to his death on the cross in abject humiliation. He died to liberate those enslaved by sin - from both its power and its penalty. He endured the death penalty due to us lawbreakers. This is history - it happened. Around 700 years before the event Isaiah the prophet foretold;

'But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace... All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all' (Isa. 53:5-6).
Do you see how Jesus substituted himself for others to secure their freedom? Turn to him today for true freedom. Ask God to make you a new creation in Christ. There will certainly be plenty of scope for 'work in progress'. But after his words about sin and slavery, Jesus also said, 'So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed' (John 8:36). Jesus alone is the Liberator - only he is able. Ask him to set YOU free!
Michael J. S. Austin's books and articles offer serious discussions and answers for life's big questions - 'How do I know which is true - Theism or Atheism?' 'Is biblical Christianity finished, or does it still speak to the 21st century?' My title, 'DAWKINS' DILEMMAS' answers, 'will Richard Dawkins' atheism grip millions, fade or stir lingering doubts?' and shows how Dawkins' atheism works hard to shut its eyes to the glory of God revealed in creation, conscience & supremely in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Find out how biblical Christianity uncovers Dawkins' dilemmas and why atheism lacks rational foundations - http://www.amazon.com/Dawkins-Dilemmas-Michael-Austin/dp/1604776668/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302182528&sr=1-2 My second title, 'LOST RELATION - finding humanity and God' is a serious discussion on how the evolutionary beliefs of Charles Darwin undermine the validity of human reason to the point where, if Darwin was right, you would never know! He admits this when he says his own thinking has only come from monkeys - read to find out about Darwin's greatest discovery! Check my books on Amazon and other main bookselling websites - & BUY TODAY! Personal email for book enquiries and brief discussions about published articles: mdaustin@iolfree.ie Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_J._S._Austin,_Ph.D. article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6899828

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