II Peter 2:18,19 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.
It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. Peter sounds like he is describing a group of people in our modern world who claim that they are Christians. As their story goes, they are free now to live as they please because of the grace of God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually grace is nothing like that. Grace reveals our sinfulness, displays the mercy of our God, cleanses us from our sins, and CHANGES US. By the grace of God we are freed from sin, not free to live a life of sin. Martin Luther dealt with the same issues in the 1500’s. Check out his words.
“There are two kinds of freedom. The first is a false freedom of false disciples. These people want freedom for satisfying their desires. They become Christians for that reason…However, people like this are scoundrels and don’t want to leave their lives of sin and idolatry or give anything to anyone. They want to live lives of sexual immorality and self-gratification as they did before coming to Christ. Yet they still want to be considered Christians. These are false disciples who only want freedom for their physical desires. They praise the gospel and at first follow it earnestly. Soon after, they do what they want, following their evil lusts and desires. They become worse and more indecent than before. They are smugger, wilder, and greedier. The second type of freedom is the true freedom of genuine disciples. Those who stick to God’s Word and endure, suffer, and tolerate what they must are the ones who will be set free. They will become stronger as time goes on.”
I love the power and grace revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were once slaves to our own lusts and held captive by the power of sin. When Christ came into our lives we were instantly forgiven for all of our sinful behavior. Not only were we forgiven, we were changed. We became new creatures in Christ. The old life has past, He is constantly making all things new in our lives. We have tasted a different type of freedom than the so called freedom the world embraces. The worldly man defines freedom as the the right to pursue happiness in the desires (or lusts) of his human flesh. I say that that is the worst kind of slavery, slavery to our sinful nature. In Christ we have tasted a new kind of freedom. This is freedom from the shackles of sin. We have been set free to pursue happiness, just a different kind of happiness. This kind of happiness is found in the presence of the Lord, that is true freedom.