We have all experienced the consequences and yucky feeling that comes with knowing we have sinned. It might be a feeling of shame, a deep pit in the stomach, or an overwhelming lack of energy or life. In James 1:14-15 it says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death.” Sin produces death.

Yet praise be to God for offering the solution through Jesus Christ! Eternal death is not our destiny as Paul declared in Romans 8:1-2, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Not only are we no longer condemned, but we are set free! The bondage that once held us captive has been loosed, and we are pronounced alive in Christ.

John 11:42-44, in the Message, says, “Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.” Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe with a kerchief over his face. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

Scripture proclaims over and over again that we are captives set free by the work of Jesus, and yet, we tend to walk out of our sin as a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe. We know the truth, and we know that we have been set free, but until the community that surrounds us responds by “unwrapping and letting us loose”, we continue to live as captives. We are called to live as children of God, free from condemnation, but often we are still burdened down by the scorn, scrutiny, and shame of others. We know the truth, but we don’t know how to live as free.

What role then should the community of believers play in “letting others loose”? What good do we serve by reminding others of their sin? Is that even our job? What good does it do to kick our brother when he is down? What kind of community could we live within instead, if only we genuinely believed that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, turned to our neighbors, loosened their chains, and declared them righteous?

Who do you know that has struggled, turned to God for their hope, and now longs to live in the freedom that comes only from Christ Jesus? What is your response? Do you point your finger and gossip? Or are you actively loosening their bindings and reminding them of their righteousness through the grace of Christ Jesus? Are you a conduit of condemnation, or of hope and forgiveness? May we all be the sweet aroma of Jesus, loving our neighbors, proclaiming truth, and reminding captives the chains have been loosed and they have been set free!

Lynette Fuson
Director of Care & Counseling

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