Spiritual Bondage and Christian Freedom
Luke 4:18
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted…

Who does not pity the captive? Saddening to the sympathetic heart is the thought of the man who is confined within his lonely and dreary cell, shut in from the beauties and melodies of nature, excluded from the haunts of men, debarred from all the activities of busy life, unable to enter his own home, compelled to unwilling solitude and separation from those he loves! There is no prayer that we breathe with a finer or fuller feeling than the petition, "Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee." Yet is there a bondage that is worse than any ever inflicted by stone walls and iron chains. It is -

I. THE BONDAGE OF SIN. Sin is at first a transgression, but it soon becomes a tyranny. It grows into a power; and it becomes a power which holds the soul in its grasp, so that it is practically enslaved; it attempts to rise, to move, to do that which befits it and for which it was created, but it finds that it cannot; it is held down; its way is barred. This is true of sin in all its forms, and it is true in a number of degrees, varying from an objectionable constraint down to an almost hopeless despotism. It applies to:

1. Error, which becomes an inveterate prejudice through which no light will break.

2. Folly, such as that of procrastination, which in no length of time weaves itself round the soul.

3. Vice, such as intemperance, or profanity, or impurity (more especially in some of its forms). There is no bondage more thoroughly deserving the name than this. The victim of vice is, indeed, "holden with the cords of his sins" (Proverbs 5:22); they have him fast in the saddest and most degrading thraldom in which a human being can be held.

4. Vanity. How many a man is a wretched slave to the judgment of other men! The fear of their condemnation, or still oftener of their ridicule, impels him in a direction in which he knows he ought not to be going, ties him to a position from which he is longing to break away.

5. Rebellion against God; disloyalty, estrangement, the withholding of the heart and life from God's service, so long maintained, that, when the soul thinks of repentance and return, it finds itself held to its wrong and sinful state.

II. THE FREEDOM WHICH IS IN CHRIST. The gospel announces "deliverance to the captives." And how does it effect this blessed emancipation?

1. By giving to the sinner a deep sense of his sin, and filling his soul with shame of himself and loathing of his iniquity. When men have come to hate sin they are well on the road toward its conquest.

2. By taking back the penitent to the favor and love of God. Through Christ sin is pardoned and the sinner is restored. As one that loves God, and seeks above all things to enjoy his favor, the man "cannot sin;" he has acquired a reason and motive for purity and integrity which gives him the victory over sin. How can he grieve his heavenly Father, his Divine Redeemer, the Holy Spirit of God?

3. By giving him access to a source of Divine power. God is ready to dwell effectually within, and to work mightily upon the soul that seeks his presence and asks his power. We can do "all things in Christ who strengtheneth us." He makes us to know "the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe," in snapping the bonds that bound us, and investing us with "the glorious liberty of the children of God." - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

WEB: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed,

Spiritual Blindness
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