One of the most disturbing
sentences in the entire Bible is this: "the Scripture declares
that the whole world is a prisoner of sin."* Imagine it!
The planet we live on is one great prison and everyone held down
on it by the force of gravity, and having to breath its air and
drink its water to live is a prisoner. The Queen is a prisoner.
Mike Tyson is a prisoner. Bill Gates, the richest man in the history
of the world, is one too. And Madonna. The children who consider
themselves to be 'wardens' in any role-play are in fact prisoners
too. So is the one who has got to play the part of the 'prison
governor.' Bosses and management, white collar and blue collar
workers alike are in chains. Karl Marx was also bound in more
profound ways than he ever realised when he described men in chains.
His diagnosis of a captive proletariat simply did not go deep
enough.. Those who boast of being free-spirits are in fact prisoners.
What are they free from? They are 'free' from keeping their marriage
vows, 'free' from being sober, 'free' from self-control, 'free'
to take drugs, 'free' to lie and steal. The country-singer says,
'Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.' That one
single person in the world who is most offended by what this verse
in the Bible is saying - maybe that is you - is still a prisoner,
though an outraged protesting one. The Word of God is not prepared
to make any exceptions: "the Scripture declares that the
whole world is a prisoner of sin."
How are you a prisoner? In this, that you can
only do what you want to do.
That is the
confinement within which you must live your narrow little life.
You want to be free of God, and you are. You want to have nothing
to do with the Bible, and you have it. You will not pray, and
you do not. You refuse to love the Lord Jesus Christ, and you
don't. You will not go to a gospel church and you never do. You
are so restricted to that unreal world where the prisoners do
not acknowledge their Creator, his Son Jesus Christ nor his Word,
Who has got
you imprisoned? That sentence tells us it is 'sin'. A few questions
will prove it. When sin says, "Don't think about God!"
do you obey? Yes. When sin tells you to spend your life ignoring
the Bible what is your response? You ignore the Bible. When sin
tells you not to consider the death that is coming up to you nearer
and nearer, what do you do? You say to yourself that thinking
about your certain death is morbid, and so you live as if one
day you were never going to die. But you are, and by the time
you have read these words you are that minute nearer to it than
when you started - if sin will let you read one word more. When
sin tells you to change the direction of the conversation when
a Christian is talking to you nervously and humbly about someone
she calls her 'Saviour' - what do you do? You obey sin, even though
the words you may hear are the most beautiful life-enriching words
anyone can hear - words like these - "When the Son of God
- Jesus Christ - makes you free you will be free indeed."
Sin tells you then to think automatically, "That is religion."
Sin wants you always to say to yourself, "I have settled
that long ago," but you know that you have never read one
of the gospels all the way through. Mark's gospel takes just an
hour to read, but the prisoners of sin never read it. Sin won't
allow them. Every prisoner ignores Christianity because of prejudice.
But sin says, "Call your prejudices 'freedom'." But
you are not free to read the Bible, nor listen to sermons, nor
think seriously when someone talks to you about Jesus Christ,
nor pray to God very earnestly and continually, "O God, if
you exist, let me know you for myself as the living God!"
Because you are a prisoner to sin.
Read these words of Taki's who writes a column
called 'High Life' in the 'Spectator' each week and ask yourself
is this written by a free man or a slave: "My mother who
died last week, was a true Christian. She forgave those who transgressed,
starting with my dad, who sure did transgress. She never retaliated,
always forgave and forgot, and prayed for her husband's soul until
the end. Some modern thinkers among you might see her as a fool,
a doormat, even a victim. She was nothing of the kind. She knew
she could not change my father because human nature simply does
not change. She made the best of it, and my dad treated her like
the saint she was ...My mother's death last week made me feel
awfully guilty, however. Looking at her for the last time while
she was being lowered to sleep forever next to my dad, I wished
he hadn't been as promiscuous as he was. I guess the same thing
goes for myself, but, like him, I can't help it, and don't really
want to help it!" (Spectator, 15 August 1998, p.48). Taki
the slave. "Be promiscuous," said sin to his father,
and his dad obeyed. "Be promiscuous," said sin to the
son, and Taki obeyed.
What can Jesus Christ do for you? He can make
you free from the prison of sin. He can free you from loneliness,
depression, anxiety, guilt and fear of death (sin is saying to
you now, "Only words: pay no attention"). The real living
Jesus Christ whom we learn of in the Bible rose from the dead
(read the narratives yourself), and now is Lord over death and
sin. He is willing to become the Lord of those who come to him
and who ask him very earnestly that he become their Lord, deal
with their guilt and deliver them from the power of sin.
Find freedom. There is something desperately
undignified in men and women created unto freedom living their
entire lives in chains while boasting to one another of their
liberty, and saying, "Poor deluded followers of Jesus Christ!
What slaves they are to loving God with all their hearts and loving
their neighbours as themselves." "Yes," we say,
and in that happy service we have found the meaning of being free."
Ask the Lord Jesus Christ to make you free. Plead with him. Who
knows? He may have pity on you and give you your first experience
Thomas writes and selects the majority of items in
the news and articles section of the Banner
of Truth web site.
has been pastor of Alfred Place Baptist Church (Independent)
in Aberystwyth since 1965. He was a student at Cardiff
University until 1961 and then spent three years at
Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia. He has three married
has written the book 'Daniel' published by the Bryntirion
Press of the Evangelical Movement of Wales.
thanks goes out to Banner
of Truth for permission to reprint this article
on our site.