The most startling thing about sin is its power to enslave. Jesus said, 'Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin' (John viii. 34), and everyday life and experience prove the saying to be true. Let a boy or a man tell a lie and he is henceforth the servant of falsehood unless freed by a higher power. Let the bank clerk misappropriate funds, let the business man yield to a trick in trade, let the young man surrender to the clamor of lust, let the youth take an intoxicating glass, and henceforth he is a slave. The cord that holds him may be light and silken, and he may boast himself free, but he deceives himself; he is no longer free, he is a bondman.
We may choose the path in life we will take; the course of conduct; the friends with whom we will associate; the habits we will form, whether good or bad. But, having chosen the ways of sin, we are then swept on without further choice with a swiftness and certainty down to hell, just as a man who chooses to go on board a ship is surely taken to the destined harbor, however much he may wish to go elsewhere. We choose and then we are chosen. We grasp and then we are grasped by a power stronger than ourselves -- like the man who takes hold of the poles of an electric battery; he grasps, but he cannot let go at his will; like the man who took the baby boa-constrictor and trained it to coil about him, but when grown it crushed him; like the lion trainer, who put his head in the lion's mouth, but one day the lion closed its mouth and crushed his head as he might an egg-shell.
Just so the sinner is in the grasp of a higher power than his own. He chooses drink, dancing, gambling, worldly pleasure, or human wisdom and fame and power, but soon finds himself captive, only to be surely crushed and ruined for ever, unless delivered by some power outside himself. What shall he do? Is there hope? Is there a deliverer? Yes, thank God, there is. Jesus said : 'If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed' (John viii. 36).
Some years ago, as I was passing out of a church near Boston, one Sunday night, a young man, an artist, stopped me and said, 'Brother Brengle, do you mean to say that Jesus can save a man from all sin?'
'Yes, sir,' I replied, ' that is exactly what I mean to say.'
Well, if He can,' said he, 'I want Him to save me, for I am the victim of a habit that masters me. I struggle and vow and make good resolutions, but fall again, and I want deliverance.'
I pointed him to Jesus. We prayed, and the work was done. Glory to God! He remained in and around Boston for six months, shining and shouting for Jesus, and then went to California. Eleven years later I went to San Francisco. One day, I heard a knock on my door. A young man entered, looked at me and inquired, 'Do you know me?'
I replied, ' Yes, sir; you are the young man that Jesus saved from a bad habit about twelve years ago, near Boston.'
'Yes,' said he, 'and He saves me still.'
Whom the Son maketh free is free indeed.
He breaks the power of canceled sin
He sets the prisoner free.
This freedom is altogether complete. Jesus told the disciples to loose a colt that was tied and bring it to Him. Mark tells us that He loosed the tongue of a dumb man and he spake plain. John tells us that when Lazarus came forth from the grave he was 'bound hand and foot with grave-clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go' (John xi. 44).
Now John uses exactly the same Greek word when he says of Jesus, 'For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy (loose) the works of the devil' (I John iii. 8).
In other words, he whom Jesus makes free is loosed from the works of the devil -- unhitched from them -- as fully as was the colt from the post to which it was tied, or as was Lazarus from his grave clothes. Hallelujah! The sinner is bound to his guilty past, but Jesus forgives and forgets it, and he is no longer subject to the penalty of the broken law.
The converted man is bound to his inbred sin, Jesus looses him and he is free indeed. It is a complete deliverance, a perfect liberty, a Heavenly freedom that Jesus gives, by bringing the soul under the law of liberty, which is the law of love.