WHAT WE ALL “KNOW” ALREADY
Recently I’ve been involved in several deep one-on-one conversations with people about the fact of our in-born slavery. When i first began to teach the concept, that we’re all born slaves because Adam sold us into slavery, I was rather overcome with fear in doing so. I was essentially afraid that people would feel insulted by this proposition. But, to my surprise, what I’ve found instead is people’s readiness to agree with it.
Yet, in these recent discussions, there sill has seemed to be this invisible wall we’d run into that kept the truth from really sinking in. It wasn’t insult by the suggestion that is causing a certain level of hindrance in our conversations, but it has been rather the immediate reception and “already knowing” of the fact that I’ve been finding to be the hindrance. It’s as if I’ve just come up with a fancy new way of saying “we’re all inherently evil”… “we all sin sometimes”… “we all struggle with certain sins from time to time”… “we’re not in our perfect state originally intended by God for Adam and Eve and the human race.”
So what the Lord is teaching me, is to push a giant “PAUSE” button in these discussions, and—in His strength—work to unveil all that the heart is blinded to initially. Because the truth is, if we move on too fast, we are likely to miss or bypass the great underlying significance—and therefore the world-changing power—of this truth.
And so the bulk of our time today will be spent in the “PAUSE” portion of this important discussion.
UNDERSTANDING SLAVERY IS NOT THE SAME AS A MORBID OBSESSION WITH SIN
My husband and I once visited a church with a morbid obsession with sin. It couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes into the service before he and I both were squirming to get out of there! The condemnation toward its congregants was thick and highly oppressive. When it was over, we all but sprinted to our car. The moment the doors of our car were slammed shut, we both looked at each other bug-eyed, and agreed, “We’re NEVER going to church there again!” The feeling was mutual! I’m pretty sure we exited that parking lot faster than was lawful.
I tell you this story because I want you to know that discussions and focus on human slavery—the fact that we’ve been trafficked under the authority of the devil to be his slaves—is not that! It might seem like it is at first, but let me explain to you why this discussion is so important, so life/world-changing, and how it’s significantly different than the oppressive obsession with sin that we experienced in that church.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘SIN’ AND ‘SLAVERY’
As I told someone recently, long before I understood that I was born into slavery, I understood that I was a sinner and that at times I sinned… or even sinned big. I have never ever had any question in my mind about this fact. So what was it about specifically realizing I was born a slave to darkness that caused my thinking to shift, and, honestly, revolution to begin in my heart? How is the specific concept of slavery different from the concept that I’m a sinner? It may sound like I’m arguing semantics here, but hang in here with me…
When you and I understand ourselves to be sinners, our focus is on ourselves. The truth is we are sinners. But what we know that to mean has become something different than what the Bible means by it. Essentially, we understand ourselves to be inherently evil. I believe one of the greatest delusions of Satan in history—and therefore, one of his most effective weapons used to keep us enslaved—is to blind the eyes of people… to himself. The doctrine of sin has become so distorted even in our churches that many, if not most of us hold the belief that we ourselves are the source of our own sin.
If you’re raising your eyebrows at these words, thinking something like, Yes, I’m the source of my sin because I’m a sinner… no one else is to blame for the sin I’ve committed… bear with me a bit longer.
HARMONIZING OUR THEOLOGY AND ITS EFFECTS
The truth is our doctrine of sin (our hamartiology) needs to be brought into harmony with our knowledge of the slavery we were trafficked into in Eden. Let me ask you this question: If your child of 4 or 5 years old was coerced and tricked to go with a stranger who then trafficked him/her into sex-slavery, was forced to engage in unimaginable acts upon threat of death, would you, the parent, blame your child for those acts, or would you blame her/his perpetrator(s)? Can you see the shift in focus here? Certainly, the sex-slave-driver could tell the child how stupid she is for being tricked into going with a stranger, how stupid she was to get herself trafficked into slavery, and thereby convince the child her sex-slavery is her own fault. Certainly, we can understand how the child might see herself as the evil one. But you and I know the real criminal is the one who tricked her into slavery.
Likewise, coming to understand that our sin is the result our slave-driver has several highly significant effects. First, shame loses its place. If Satan can get you to think you’re evil, he can get you to ignore him, which causes you to remain in the slavery you’re in. If he can get you to wonder how you could think something so terrible, do something so terrible, say something so terrible, he can keep you from recognizing that he was the one to plant all those ideas in you. So shame is his game. See, when we come to see him as the slave-master, we begin to see that there might be a way of escape. We stop focusing on ourselves—giving a foothold to the lie of shame—and begin to focus on finding a way of escape from our enemy.
Second, coming to understand that our sin is the result our slave-driver , we come to see that we ourselves have NO ABILITY to function OUTSIDE of slavery. THIS is where we must spend the bulk of our conversation. THIS is the place where the harmony in our theology most often breaks down. We acknowledge and agree that we were trafficked into slavery, that we’re stuck as perpetual slaves to Satan, yet our lives reflect an opposing view. One that does not fit with the fact of our slavery. And one which, again, only Satan could or would plant in us to keep us enslaved.
HOW OUR LIVES DIFFER WITH OUR THEOLOGY
The opposing view to our own theology that our lives reflect (even if we’re not conscious of it) ? That by acting good, by acting moral, we’re not living as slaves. Tell me something, the child sold into sex-slavery, living in the brothel… if he or she doesn’t have sex for 24 hours is he or she not a slave anymore? NO! The child is still locked in the brothel, and therefore at the disposal of the slave-driver to manipulate and therefore use as he wishes when he wishes. The child is not outside the brothel and therefore is not free. No. Residence in the brothel means slavery to the brothel-owner.
See, we downplay, we brush aside, we neglect thinking much about our slavery to Satan, because we don’t actually see our own slavery. There’s this disconnect in us between knowing we’re slaves and seeing our slavery. We believe that our good works prove that we’re not affected by it, that we haven’t fallen for it, that we’re somehow outside of it, the brothel. And therefore we think we have the ability to function outside of slavery.
But in truth, you and I have no ability to function as anything but slaves. Our bodies have been trafficked to Satan. He’s the brothel owner. We still live in them. He still rules over them (Rom. 7:14). Good deeds do NOT equal freedom! Let me say it again, WE have NO ABILITY to live free as long as we reside in human bodies! WE have NO ABILITY to not function from slavery. We MUST awaken to this FACT!
If you’re again getting concerned, and possibly a bit offended, suffer through this a bit longer…
Hear what God says about our good deeds in Isaiah 64:6:
“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags..”
Do good behavior, good morals, good convictions, or good deeds = freedom from slavery? This verse tells us NO! This verse is often used as proof to the unbeliever that their good works do not save them. And this is true. Good works performed within and from the source of the brothel (that is our flesh) do not make anyone NOT a slave. Yet may we all see that good works POST-salvation don’t equal freedom from slavery either!
THE APPEARANCE OF LIGHT
Furthermore, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). If Satan can make himself seem good, can he not trick us into thinking that by our good behavior we’re no longer being controlled by him? Can he not trick us into thinking that he has no control over us? Can he not trick us into thinking we don’t have a slavery or sin problem? Can he not trick us into thinking that we DO have ability to function outside of slavery?!
As long as he can keep us feeling self-sufficient and in control, that we can do good, we can function apart from slavery… then he can keep us under his control… and therefore, from the LIFE and FREEDOM of Jesus Christ.
BURSTING OUR BUBBLES
WOAH. I don’t know what this does to you… but this knowledge bursts my own bubble of self-righteousness! ALL my good works… MY good works… are like filthy rags. MY good works SCREAM of my own slavery! GOOD WORKS PEOPLE!
Let it be known and believed today—Christianity is NOT GOOD WORKS, and GOOD WORKS is NOT the Christian life! BEING GOOD does NOT make us awesome! BEING A GOOD PERSON does NOT make us less intertwined with SATAN HIMSELF! BEING GOOD does NOT make us GOOD CHRISTIANS!!
IF THEY CAN DO IT TOO, IT’S NOT CHRIST
I’ve heard it said on many occasions, and do now know who is the first to credit for this saying, but the truth is that anything that I, a Christian, can do that the non-Christian can also do, is NOT the Christian life! This means that our churches, our homes, might be filled with all the human goodness of the world… and be totally void of Christ Himself. They can look and seem as good and alive and spiritual as earthly possible, yet be rank with sweeping carnality. Maybe then carnality doesn’t only look evil, but can also look really really good. Jesus described it this way:
“I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (Rev. 3:1)
Think about it. Are there not many very moral, very kind, very generous, very loving, very gracious, very forgiving, very wonderful unbelievers in our world?! YES! THERE ARE! This should challenge our Christian thinking to the core!!!… because the New Testament teaches of a life lived completely outside the realm of human ability!
The funny thing is, non-Christians seem to get that the New Testament teaches this. They hold us to a higher standard than they might hold any other person of any other religion! I think it is Gandhi who is quoted as saying, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” You guys, they get it! And they’re right! And so many of us do not! And we’re wrong! Christ lived a supernatural life, and He called us to a supernatural life! Yet here’s what neither non-Christian nor Christian understands when we look at our own hypocrisy, or even our own good humanism… Jesus Christ did not call us to live a supernatural life by our own effort! He called us to trust Him to live His own supernatural life through us! He didn’t ask slaves to live what they cannot live. He said He’ll live in us what we could never live ourselves!
Yet how many of us are either trying to live a supernatural life by staunchly following a set of guidelines or think we actually are living the supernatural life by our own human goodness?!
Friends… all this is is humanism. This is not Christianity.
Christianity can be lived by one—that is Christ.
But the incredible miracle of it is that if we’ve believed in Jesus as our Rescuer, we are in Him and He is in us (through the Holy Spirit in us)!! And so He is able to live His eternal Life on this earth through us!
WHAT HINDERS US
All that hinders Him in the life of a believer is the believer not knowing how to let Him!
As much as I’d like to go on for 15 more pages (haha! Don’t worry, I’m not!) about HOW to let HIM live HIS life in US (this is actually what Walking in the Light—the curriculum I’m writing—is ALL about!), today’s focus must remain “what slavery means and why it’s so significant to understand the entire depth of it in us.”
And so with this, I’m going to close down this post by discussing what life-altering, and potentially world-changing effect FULL understanding and FULL acceptance of this truth has.
FIRST, WE DROP THE CHARADE
First, complete understanding of our inability to live anything but slavery (even if our lives appear pretty) has the effect of us living far more authentic lives. Instead of incessant people-pleasing, striving after perfection, and faking perfection, we become people that other people can identify with. We become human again. Of course we always were human, but our enemy has tricked us into thinking that all the rules of humanity don’t apply to us. But once we realize they do and that WE cannot do anything to change this, we stop trying (in our own effort) to prove we can.
I want to qualify one thing about what I am saying. I am NOT saying that by realizing we have no ability in ourselves to live as anything but slaves, that we then should turn to lives of license. License is the thinking that goes, “Since I cannot NOT live as a slave, then I might as well just do all the evil I FEEL like doing.” That would be the distortion of this truth. That IS Satan’s tactic to thwart the right effects of this truth in our thinking.
This truth of OUR inability to not live under sin perpetually (in all we do, say, or think) is meant to cause us to stop trying to live perfectly in our own efforts. Stopping trying from my own strength doesn’t mean I turn to license. Instead, it means I turn to Jesus to live what I cannot live. It means I live authentically weak (both in my own heart and before others), so that the power of Christ (and not my own power) can be seen in me instead… which simultaneously draws others to Christ too! See how Paul said it:
I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Cor. 2:3-5)
SECOND, WE DROP THE SUPERIORITY
Second, complete understanding of our utter inability to live anything but slavery (even if our lives appear pretty) has the effect of us no longer looking down on others. This may be one of my personal favorite effects! I have heard so much snobbery, judgmentalism, superiority, condemnation, and self-righteousness out of the mouths of Christians I could puke thinking about it. The snide comments about the “choices” of others, the belief that we are stronger because we haven’t given in to homosexuality, adultery, covetousness, gossip, and ______(you name it!)______, the withdrawal from others who are clearly “living on the wrong path”, the disgust in our hearts and in our appearance toward another’s “wrong actions/words/choices/thoughts”…. is, frankly, REVOLTING and ANTI-CHRIST! It’s frankly highly IGNORANT. We have a commentary on everyone else’s lives but our own because we are ignorant of how totally, completely, utterly, thoroughly in every single fiber of our being WE are slaves of Satan. There is no exception. Everyone of us is totally a slave to Satan in our flesh. And perhaps the most dangerous, the most evil sin of all… especially when its donned by masses of Christians… is the belief that WE possess the ability to function outside of slavery!
YET, when we look at another’s form of bondage—as vastly different as it can look from ours—and recognize it as simply another form of the same slavery I myself am under, we stop seeing the sinner as criminal, and start seeing the sinner as the pitiful victim of Satan. Because that’s what he/she is, and that’s what I am.
The truth is, I do not blame or look down on a homosexual person for being homosexual. I do not blame or judge a heterosexual person for committing adultery. I do not blame a person for cussing. I do not blame a person for lying, or even being a chronic liar. I do even judge the terrorist, the rapist, the murderer! I do not look down on people for making foolish decisions, having foolish convictions, living for foolish causes, having foolish ideas, living foolish lives… Why would anyone live as anything other than the slave they were born as? Why would anyone live the Christ-life if they either do not have Christ, or if they’ve never learned how to let Him live in them? There’s a famous quote from 2016 I believe we’re mostly all aware of. The quote is “Love is love is love”. Well, today I throw this one out there: Slaves are slaves are slaves. My slavery is NOT BETTER than your slavery! YOUR SLAVERY is not better than MY slavery!! A slave is a slave is a slave! And let it be known: Jesus MADLY LOVES every slave!!
Seeing this causes a great humbling in humanity! Seeing this, causes a great leveling of humanity! And seeing this causes a GREAT BURDEN in the Christian to reach the WORLD—non-Christian AND Christian—with the FREEING GOSPEL (GOOD NEWS) OF JESUS CHRIST (Rom. 1:16)!!!
See, JESUS CAME NOT FOR THE HEALTHY, BUT FOR THE SICK! Who is sick? Every single one of us! HE CAME NOT FOR THE FREE, BUT TO FREE THE SLAVE! Who is the slave? Every single one of us! But if we don’t know we’re sick, we can’t be healed. If we don’t know we’re slaves, we can’t be freed! Jesus came because God loves us so much! He loves every single precious precious child who has been sold into slavery! Which is ALL of us! And HE YEARNS to release every one of His children from their horrible state of slavery! HIS CROSS DID THIS VERY THING… but We ALL MUST LEARN TO LIVE FROM THE CROSS!! We must learn ALL that the cross means!!
THIRD, WE ENDEAVOR TO LEAVE SLAVERY
Third, and FINALLY, completely understanding our inability to live anything but slavery, completely seeing the horror of our slavery (as pretty as it can falsely look), has the incredible effect of setting us on a mad search for freedom from Satan, our enemy!
Hallelujah! THIS IS THE GREATEST EFFECT our really truly SEEING our slavery can have!!
IN CONCLUSION: ANOTHER CHALLENGE
Today, I leave you with this challenge: SEE your TOTAL slavery in your flesh to another master, to Satan! Don’t just flippantly see that you sin sometimes. Don’t just quickly admit that YOU are evil. See all that is contained in this truth: the one in possession of and control over your flesh is evil! And if you’ve received Christ as the Rescuer from your slavery, yet haven’t learned how to let Him live His life in you, SEE that you are NOT living the Christian life yet!!
The truth is, the Christ-life is FOR SINNERS ONLY!! Let me repeat it once more: being a sinner does not mean YOU are evil. NO. It means you’re a SLAVE to an evil SLAVE-MASTER. If you can see the breadth and length and depth and height of your slavery—that you’re a sinner (in the TRUE sense of what this means), then you are primed to receive the breadth and length and depth and height of Christ Himself living in you!
Let’s wake up to the TRUTH! Let’s remove the blinders over our eyes! Let’s be BOLD and BRAVE to face reality… So Another can BOLDLY WONDERFULLY DEFEAT IT IN OUR LIVES!!
If we do this, the entire GLOBE will begin to change!! THE ENTIRE GLOBE!!
All my deep love for you today! I LONG to see you living free. Because I LOVE you. Because JESUS LOVES YOU! Slavery is wrong and horrible for ALL people! YOU deserve freedom! May this be the very beginning of your incredible journey to freedom. There is NO LIFE like the Christ-Life. Like the one lived in union with and from the source of GOD HIMSELF! There is NO JOY like it! And NO TESTIMONY to the WORLD like it! SEEK HIM dear friend! Don’t seek goodness, seek HIM!!