Have you ever seen a bird caught in a cage? It cannot go where it wants to go. It cannot eat what it wants to eat. It is confined to the small area of its cage and the limited view it can glimpse beyond it. A caged bird cannot even open its wings and fly. It is a captive, and everything it does is determined by its captor.
Every person is born a captive to sin and the consequences it has on our spirits, our bodies and our minds. We are caught in a trap of doing the things that our environment dictates. Our responses to various situations have been ingrained in us by our inherited carnal nature. Trying to change ourselves by a list of rules has proven to be totally inadequate, and yet we still feel the need and desire to change. We are always looking for something that we cannot attain, because we are in no way capable of bringing about our own freedom. Everything we do is determined by our captor (sin). That is, until Jesus.
Jesus came to set the captives free. That includes you and me. Jesus said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah), because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy)…” But what does all that mean? The tragedy we all faced was the tyranny of sin and the hold it had on us. The blindness was spiritual blindness that kept us from seeing past the realm of our captor. We were all poor (needy in spirit) and without resources. But Jesus declares we can be set free from all of that.
The psalmist declared, “Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.” In other words, Jesus has opened the cage door. Now it is up to us whether we will leave the cage behind or stay with what is familiar. Through Jesus we can be free from the dominion of sin and its restrictive, destructive nature. Once we surrender our lives to Him and He has dominion, the oppression of evil is broken, the heavy weight is lifted, and we are free to spread our wings and fly. We are free to ignore the voice of the enemy who held us captive. And we are free to open our ears to hear the voice of truth. Satan’s words are lies that he tells to lure us back to the cage and cause us to give up our freedom in Christ. Satan will confuse you as to what freedom really is if you listen to him. Jesus was very clear about truth and we have further clarification of our freedom in Christ in the Scripture. Freedom is a choice, and the choice is ours to make.
Are you content to be blindly pushed along with the crowd on a dark road that leads to ultimate death? Or had you rather walk down a road with Jesus beside you, a road that has light and will lead to life? Those are basically our two choices. Freedom is not the ability to make our own choices, but making wise choices that are based on truth and reality. When we make our choices based on lies, we cannot be free. Satan is determined to hold us captive, and keep us in the dark. But Jesus has paid the price for our freedom. Psalm 119:105 tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The word of God (His communication with us) will light our path so we won’t fall away. It will enlighten our hearts and minds to truth.
Even though we accept freedom, Satan will try to talk us out of it, saying we are now ensnared by God. But the truth is that Jesus does not force anyone to follow Him. If you read the story of the rich, young ruler, you can see that Jesus was sorrowful when the young man turned away and chose not to follow Him. But Jesus did not force him to come. Nor did He change the conditions for following Him just to suit the young man’s desire. Satan will also tell you that now you have to follow a bunch of rules and life won’t have any joy. But the truth is that in the presence of God we will find fullness of joy. Following Jesus’ commandments will bring us much joy. They are life to us. Satan tries to divert us from the light (truth) to his dark path. He succeeded in doing that with Adam and Eve, but their choice does not have to be your choice.
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32, 34-36 NKJV)
We can be sons and daughters in the household of our heavenly Father or we can be slaves under the dominion of the devil. The kingdom of God is where the Spirit of God is, and sin cannot enter there. We can live in that place spiritually right now. Yes, we are still in this world, but we can have freedom in Christ now. We don’t have to live under oppression and a death sentence. If we live in union with Christ, we are living in the presence of God. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom].” (2 Corinthians 3:17 Amplified) So, in Christ we have freedom, light and fullness of joy. But there is more.
Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” We are free to walk in freedom as the Spirit within us directs us to the right paths. Our death sentence has been overturned. We are no longer captives, but free to hear God’s voice.
God is a communicator with His creation. In many places in the Old Testament, we see God speaking to men and women and drawing them into His plans. We see Jesus in the Old Testament appearing as the Angel of the Lord and communicating with people. God has even given us a written copy of His Word as He spoke and inspired men to write. Then in the New Testament, we see Jesus coming to be one of us, laying aside His glory and living among us. Why would He do that? The Scripture is clear about why Jesus came.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17 NKJV)
He came so we wouldn’t have to live as captives on this earth and then live in hell with Satan for eternity. He came to offer us spiritual life and freedom now, and a home in heaven with Jesus for eternity. It overwhelms the mind, I know. But that is the truth.
Jesus said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24) He came to provide a means for us to have that life instead of condemnation. If we truly believe Him, we will follow Him and keep His commandments.
If you are rationalizing all this and have come up with the idea that you don’t deserve that chance for freedom, you are right. None of us do. But Jesus loves us anyway, so He gave His life for ours. When you look at this scripture verse in Romans 5:6-8, you will see that you haven’t done anything that will make you exempt from the offer Jesus makes.
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The people in this world may tell you that you are too bad to qualify to be saved and set free, that you deserve to be held captive in a cage. But they are wrong. Jesus died for all of us when we were ungodly, without strength to save ourselves and were sinners to the core. Sinners commit sins. They commit terrible sins. But Jesus paid the price for that and the offer still stands.
Look at this verse from Isaiah 1:18-19. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land.” That is an invitation from God Himself. He is communicating with you right now. Don’t ignore Him or wait until another time. Accept Him today. You can be set free from living the life of a captive in a cage. You can be free to live in the kingdom of God now. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, freedom! Spread your wings and fly!