When I was a boy, my grandpa and grandma had a dog named Mutt that had lived, I think, its entire life on a chain. I felt so sorry for it. My own dog, Taffy, the Cocker Spaniel that I had grown up with, had never spent a minute on a chain. Mutt was not so fortunate.
Mutt’s dog house was in the corner of the yard between the chicken coup and the barnyard. From fence to fence, for ten feet not a blade of grass could be found. That patch of mud – the result of paws and chain running back and forth over the same ground year after year – was the entire world where Mutt lived.
One summer day Grandpa told me that Mutt had spent so much time on that chain, and that the dog had become so used to his limitations, that if he were ever to be set free he wouldn’t step foot on the grass; the dog, said Grandpa, would simply stay put.
Many Christians are like Mutt. They are chained by sin. They spend their entire life repeating the same set of sins, traveling over the same familiar ground. Christ has removed the chain, but they refuse to leave their old stomping ground.
Ask most Christians what the Bible means when it says we are free indeed from sin, and they will tell you that Christ saves us from the punishment of hell.
Ask them about the power of the Holy Spirit to free us from sin, and they may tell you that when we die we will be like Jesus and – at last – be free from sin.
Few Christians – very few – will tell you that being free from sin means that sin and Satan has no power over you. Fewer still will tell you that through the power of the Holy Spirit, the discipline of prayer, and the study of God’s word we can overcome sin. Rarely will a Christian tell you about how the Spirit sanctifies us and makes us holy, slaves to righteousness.
Yet, the life freed from sin is integral to the theme of the Bible. Christ’s victory over Satan and sin is as fundamental to the Christianity as His victory over death.
Without the power to resist sin, there is no victory in the life of a Christian; the Christian only finds victory in death. If that is the way we live, then we may as well rip out chapter after chapter from the Bible, including most of the Psalms, much of the Gospels and all of the works of Paul.
That few ministers of the Church educate parishioners in the power of the Holy Spirit over sin explains why many local congregations are dying. That the church is no different than university campus coffee house is why fewer than 5% of Millennials go to church regularly. There is nothing of substance offered in most churches. Our churches entertain us by mimicking Hollywood. A significant number of worship leaders are performance artists and pastors try to be stand-up comics.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV)
The power of the Church is its Message not its marketing.
Would you be free from the burden of sin?There really is power in the blood of the Lamb.
By the way, when Mutt got loose, he took off and never looked back, another good lesson for us to learn.
Fear Not for there really is Victory in this life.