Summary: We have been set free from the bondage of sin by the blood of Christ so that we can bring forth deliverance as the body of Christ.
When we encounter oppression our soul’s desire should be to fight for deliverance. If someone is being dominated by something or someone that is causing them despair we should want them to be delivered. When we encounter oppression and truly want deliverance to take place all of our energy and effort should be united as we seek freedom. If we are to obtain freedom we must remain focused, fervent and faithful.
On tomorrow we celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. one of the greatest freedom fighters our country has ever known. Dr. King fought tirelessly against oppression. In a letter he wrote from the Birmingham City Jail to fellow clergymen to encourage them to join him in the struggle against racial and economic injustice, Dr. King said: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Dr. King devoted his life and ultimately gave his life, as he demanded that the least and left out of our society be treated with dignity and respect by the mainstream. Dr. King didn’t tolerate people being oppressed and neither should we!
There are a lot of different types of oppression. We can be oppressed economically, socially, physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. I need you to understand that all forms of oppression are a sin. It is a sin for the top 1% of Americans to hoard more and more wealth while there are millions of children who are being deprived of basic necessities because they are living in poverty. It is a sin to shun and ostracize anyone just because they don’t look like you or embrace what you consider to be culturally normative. It is a sin to intentionally make someone feel unworthy so that you can feel worthy.
Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we would be set free from the bondage of sin. His blood covers over all our sins; past, present and future. But, Jesus did not die so we would have a license to sin. Quite the contrary, Jesus was crucified to atone for our sins but He was Resurrected so that we would be empowered to overcome our sin nature!
Before the coming of Christ we were hopeless oppressed by our sin nature. There was no way we could make things right with God and with one another without sin getting in the way. But with Christ we have hope because we have an Advocate who intercedes for us and strengthens us to overcome any sin that would try to dominate our lives and oppress us.
We have been set free from sin but that freedom came at a heavy price. God loves us so much that Jesus was sent to save the world through the cross. We are free but we have been bought by the blood of Christ.
So my assignment this morning is to encourage everyone under the sound of my voice to glorify God with your body because you were bought with a price!
In our text this morning, Apostle Paul is addressing an errant belief by members of the Church at Corinth that they could do what ever they wanted to do because they were covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. We should never confuse our privilege to be counted amongst the righteous with permission to engage in conduct unbecoming a Christian.
To instruct the Corinthians Paul quotes one of their favorite slogans. They loved to say, “All things are lawful for me.” We have this same saying today but it sounds a little different. When there is a sin we condone that we don’t want to give up we say, “Well you know nobody is perfect.” Or, if we don’t want to change sometimes we even get super spiritual and quote scripture and say, “We all sin and fall short of the glory of God.”
But, the Bible also says, “We should be perfect even as our father in Heaven is perfect.” The Bible also says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
To challenge the Corinthians abuse of God’s grace, Paul does not disregard their claim that “All things are lawful” instead he qualifies their self-serving slogan by saying, “Yes! All things are lawful for me but not all things are beneficial. Yes! All things are lawful for me but I will not be dominated by anything.”
And so today, we would be wise to be mindful that yes God gives us the freedom to do right or to do wrong. And yes God will even forgive us if we do wrong. But we should never deceive or delude ourselves into believing that there is ever any real benefit if we do decide to do wrong. Everything that feels good to you is not good for you. When we choose to sin we harm ourselves and we harm the Body of Christ because we are one!