Without Christ, we were slaves of sin, slaves to the evil impulses of our fallen human nature. We lived in a self-centered way, pleasing ourselves instead of living to the glory of God. The unavoidable result of this spiritual slavery was death, because the wages of sin is death.
But Jesus came to proclaim liberty to the captives . . . , to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18, NKJV). These aren’t literal captives but spiritual prisoners of Satan (see Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:1-2). Jesus did not release John the Baptist from Herod’s prison, but He did release those who were bound by the chains of sinful lives and delivered them from the heavy burden of guilt and eternal condemnation.
What great promise is found in the following verses? See John 8:34-36.
The use of the word indeed in verse 36 shows that there is also a false kind of freedom, a pseudo-freedom that actually shackles human beings to further disobedience to God. Jesus’ hearers trusted in their ancestry of Abraham as their hope for freedom. We run the same risk. The enemy wants us to rely upon anything-for instance, our doctrinal knowledge, our personal godliness, or our record of service for God-anything except Christ for our salvation. But none of these, however important they may be, has the power to free us from sin and its condemnation. The only true Liberator is the Son, who was never enslaved by sin.
Jesus delighted in forgiving sins. When four men brought a paralyzed man to Him, He knew that this man was sick as a result of his dissolute living, but He also knew that the man had repented. In the pleading eyes of this man, the Lord saw the longing of his heart for forgiveness and his faith in Jesus as his only Helper. Tenderly, Jesus said to him: Son, your sins are forgiven you (Mark 2:5, NKJV). Those were the sweetest words this man ever heard. The load of despair disappeared from his mind, and the peace of forgiveness filled his spirit. In Christ he found spiritual and physical healing.
At a Pharisee’s house, a sinful woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointed them with perfume (Luke 7:37-38). Perceiving the Pharisee’s disapproval, Jesus explained to him that her sins, which are many, are forgiven (Luke 7:47, NKJV). Then He said to her: Your sins are forgiven (Luke 7:48, NKJV).
Your sins are forgiven. Why are these the best words any of us will ever hear?