Day 15

Belong to God

from the reading plan

Romans 6:15-23, Isaiah 61:1-11, Galatians 5:1, Galatians 5:13-14

Egypt was still in the rearview mirror when the complaining started.The ancient Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for four…hundred…years. For comparison’s sake, that’s the time span equivalent between the Mayflower’s landing at Plymouth Rock and now. That’s a really long time. Yet despite the severe oppression they faced as slaves, the Israelites started pining for their former shackles almost as soon as they left.

When Pharaoh’s army pursued them, they cried out to Moses, “‘Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt: Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness’” (Exodus 14:12). Similar incidents occurred later when they were hungry in the Wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:3), thirsty at Rephidim (Exodus 17:3), and when they struck camp at Sinai (Numbers 11:1–6). 

We often read these accounts and smugly think, “How could the Israelites be so foolish? Why would they choose bitter captivity over transformational freedom?” Yet in a spiritual sense, that’s exactly what we do when we disobey God.

Sin is a devious enslaver, a master of deception and guile. Sin promises freedom while binding us in fetters. It offers tantalizing gifts that are wrapped in illusory pleasure but, in actuality, only contain spiritual death inside. Left to our corrupted state, we will perish apart from God. 

Jesus came to liberate us from sin’s tyrannical rule. He sacrificed himself on the cross “to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1). This is the good news of the gospel! Jesus didn’t come to save mostly good people who just needed a little extra nudge toward righteousness. He came to set free depraved slaves to sin, utterly powerless to help ourselves. When God regenerates our hearts to receive salvation through faith, we go from condemned to redeemed. We go from helpless prisoners to beloved children. We fully belong to God.

But according to Scripture, even in our regenerated state, we are still slaves! We just have a new master—the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus isn’t a harsh master. He is loving, gracious, and compassionate. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. He brings everlasting hope. As Romans 6:22 says, “But now, since you have been set free from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the outcome is eternal life!”

So why would we ever return to sinful enslavement? It’s utter foolishness. Sin corrupts. Jesus saves!

We are all slaves of something—whatever we offer our minds and hearts to (Romans 6:16). Far better to live as humble, obedient servants of the Prince of Peace, the one who sacrificed His own life to bring former rebels into the kingdom of eternal light! 

Because we belong to God, dear believer, let us heed the words of Galatians 5:1: “For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

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