Did you know that there are only two truths that we must know and experience to be set free from both sin's penalty and sin's power?
This thought might seem ludicrous to people who have tried so many things to get free. Some people have gone to counseling offices for years, have attended 12-step groups, support groups, group therapy, and tried mind-altering drugs (prescribed or not), etc. Some have gone on pilgrimages to "sacred" places to learn from gurus. Others have read stacks of self-help books, and still, others have tried religion, science, psychology, psychiatry, and anything else they could find, all of which ended in disappointment.
To these, it might seem implausible that lasting freedom from habitual sin is not only attainable but also simple, but it is true. Indeed, the entire Bible points to these two things, these essential truths, and calls us to put faith in them, and as we do, we walk out of sin's prison and begin learning how to live in freedom.
So, what are these two powerful truths that God has used to liberate people for thousands of years?
Please read the following passage:
“Now the Jews murmured and found fault with Him because He said, "I am the Bread that came down out of heaven." 42 They kept saying, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now [have the arrogance to] say, ‘I have come down out of heaven'?" 43 So Jesus answered, "Stop murmuring among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him [giving him the desire to come to Me], and I will raise him up [from the dead] on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they will all be taught of God.' Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He [who was with the Father and] who is from God; He [alone] has seen the Father. 47 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he who believes [in Me as Savior—whoever adheres to, trusts in, relies on, and has faith in Me—already] has eternal life [that is, now possesses it]. 48 I am the Bread of Life [the Living Bread which gives and sustains life]. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the Bread that comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the Living Bread that came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread [believes in Me, accepts Me as Savior], he will live forever. And the Bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh (body)." John 6:41-51 (Amplified Bible - AMP)
In John 6:41-43, we read that the Jews were murmuring amongst themselves because Jesus said, “I Am the Bread that came down out of heaven.” They thought they knew who Jesus was and where He was from because they knew His parents, Mary and Joseph. It seemed outlandish to them for Jesus to claim that He came down from heaven. What? Did Jesus think that He was God? What arrogance!
It is this total incomprehension of who Jesus was that kept these Jews in the dark, confused, misunderstanding both Jesus and themselves. In John 8, we see them tell Jesus that they "have never been enslaved to anyone" (verse 33). Really? Historically, Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians, the Babylonians, and, in Jesus' day, Israel was under Roman rule. The Jews speaking with Jesus did not understand themselves; they were confused as to who Jesus was and who they were. They were slaves thinking they were free.
Now when Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they answered, "Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah, or [just] one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:13-15 AMP).
Jesus asked His disciples an extremely important question, "but who do you say that I Am?" And Peter answered correctly, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17-18
Friend, unless God the Father reveals to us who Jesus is, as He did to Peter, we will be confused about who Jesus is and who we are. Indeed, we will remain slaves, thinking we are free, like the Jews of Jesus' day.
In John 5:39, Jesus said that the Scriptures testify about Him so studying our Bibles is one of the best ways to come to a clear understanding of who Jesus is. Let’s quickly look at a couple of passages that “testify” about Jesus and help us understand who He is.
“For to us a Child shall be born, to us a Son shall be given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 AMP).
In the book of Isaiah, we read that Jesus was the child born, speaking of His humanity, but also the Son given, showing His Deity. Jesus would govern the world as the Mighty God, one with the "Everlasting Father." Jesus' mission was to make peace on earth by dying to remove the hostility between God and Man, and He rose from the dead to live as the Wonderful Counselor in all who believe.
In the book of Psalms, David tells us who Jesus is:
“Your arrows are sharp; The peoples (nations) fall under You; Your arrows pierce the hearts of the King's enemies. 6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You have loved righteousness (virtue, morality, justice) and hated wickedness; Therefore God, your God, has anointed You Above Your companions with the oil of jubilation” (Psalm 45:5-7 AMP).
In Psalm 45:5-7, we see Jesus as the One who came to earth to live and die in the sinner’s place, bearing the sin of the world in His own body, and to be pierced through His heart with the arrows of God’s wrath against sin. We see Him on the cross being treated as an enemy of the King so that we who were enemies of God would be reconciled to Him through the cross.
Then David shows us Jesus rising from the dead in victory, anointed in resurrection power over His companions, and now seated on the throne of God forever, ruling and reigning in justice and righteousness.
Jesus is the Creator, God, through whom God made all things (John 1:3), and through whom all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). He is the Word who was with God in the beginning and is God Himself (John 1:1). In Jesus, God came to draw God and man together, through His suffering death to remove our sin.
Why is it important to know who Jesus is? Because to be saved and set free from sin, we must believe He can rescue us (Colossians 1:13). We must know and believe that Jesus is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17), powerful enough to deliver (Psalm 91:3), that He is God who made us and able to change our hearts and heal us.
So, the Jews in John chapter 6 were entirely confused about who Jesus was, believing He was only a man, and were consequently totally confused about themselves. When seeking freedom, the first thing that you and I must understand is that Jesus is Almighty God, and as such, He is fully capable of rescuing and delivering, healing, and restoring us.
But did you notice what else Jesus said to the Jews He was speaking to in John chapter 6? Let’s look at it again:
“I am the Living Bread that came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread [believes in Me, accepts Me as Savior], he will live forever. And the Bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh (body).” (John 6:51 AMP).
To have freedom from habitual sin, the second truth we must know and experience is what Jesus came to do.
Jesus said He came as Bread from heaven to give life to the world. Then He defined that “bread” as His “flesh” or His body. In other words, Jesus came to offer His body as a ransom price for our sins, an atoning sacrifice for our wrongs, and His body, offered in our place, would be food for our souls. Jesus came to die, and His sacrificial offering nourishes us; we become full and satisfied as we feed on Jesus’ death in our place.
Job tells us what Jesus came to do, by expressing this longing:
“He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more” (Job 9:32-34 NIV).
Job is longing for the work of Jesus, expressed in these ways:
Isaiah tells us what Jesus came to do:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6 NIV).
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
Jesus rose as the firstfruits, showing that you and I will follow when “all will be made alive.” Jesus rose to justify you before God, proving that the payment He made on the cross was sufficient to pay all the wages of sin. He rose to show that your sins were forgiven and removed from you, that your guilt was crucified and buried, that your salvation was accomplished, your rescue was complete, and your eternal life was purchased! Hallelujah to the risen Lamb!
Why do we need to know who Jesus is and what He came to do? So that we can trust His finished work, put faith in what He accomplished, and finally be free from sin’s horrendous penalty and sin’s hideous power. As we believe in who Jesus is and what He has done for us, we feed on Him, and His death and resurrection nourish and satisfy us so that we don’t want to look elsewhere for fullness.