I invite you to consider 2 scenarios with me.
1. A man is imprisoned for life. He is placed in his cell, and the place is pretty disgusting. Dirty, grimy, and just basically nasty. This man cleans up his cell. Makes it spotless. And as he is allowed and provided with stuff, he really fixes up the cell and makes it homey. He adds some personal touches, pictures of family, a few sentimental items, etc. (I am not claiming this is an accurate representation of jail, and I'm not trying to be political in anyway. Just go with it.) This man, though, for all the cleaning-up he's done in his cell, still lives in a cell. No matter how many personal items he adds, this will never be his home. He will never be free while he lives here. His life will be spent in jail. No matter how clean his cell is, he's still a prisoner with a life sentence.
2. Let's suppose the above man is called into court, and the judge says "Someone has offered to take your place. In jail. You are free to go, and they will serve your life sentence." The man leaves prison, but often he will come back, stay a while in "his" cell and visit. He basically considers this a second home. The length of time of his visits varies, but he keeps coming back. Keeps living in his cell.
Those are the scenarios. You are the man, and the cell is sin. God is the judge, and the person who offers to pay your sentence is Jesus Christ.
Which scenario are you?
Are you the first scenario? You're living imprisoned. A slave to sin. And no matter how hard you clean up your life, no matter what you do to make it look like everything's ok, you are still a prisoner, owned and controlled by sin.
Every person is born living in the cell of sin. We were born there and we will stay there, unless we recognize that no matter how good we make ourselves and our lives look, we are still condemned sinners. No matter how hard we clean up our lives, we are still living in a cell. Just this one isn't a physical cell--it's spiritual. And it will lead to death.
We then each, personally, need to accept Christ's sacrifice. He can offer to take our place, take our punishment, so that we can walk out of the cell of sin and live a life of freedom. But we must accept it. We must give up the cell and walk out into whatever it is that is beyond our cell.
It takes faith.
All we have known is what is inside our cell. We don't know what is beyond, what God has for us.
So have you done that? Are you still living in your cell of sin? Have you accepted Christ's sacrifice? If not, please do so. Contact me. Someone one who can help you. Don't live one more day a prisoner.
I'm really willing to guess though, that many of you who are reading this are more like the prisoner in scenario 2. You would quickly deny it, I know. But I know I do that a lot. I have complete victory from sin in Christ. Because of what He has done for me. I don't need to return to sins that I have struggled with in the past.
You don't either.
It may be anger, impure thoughts/lifestyle, worry, pride, gossip, or a lot of other things. I don't know what you struggle with. But please, accept the sacrifice of Christ. He died so you could have victory over those sins. Why do we think that His sacrifice was good enough to get us out of Hell, but not powerful enough to give us strength to defeat the sins we struggle with on a daily basis?
You've been freed from your prison on sin. Why do you insist on going back to that cell? I don't know what your cell is. Don't go back. That's what Satan wants. He wants you to live a defeated Christian life. He doesn't want you to live in the power of the Gospel.
The power that can change lives. On a daily basis.
Let it change yours.