Let Freedom Ring
2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
Functional brain imaging has shown how repeated use of a drug (in an addict) actually damages and shuts down the part of the brain that normally inhibits destructive behavior. As it turns out, we can actually watch the conscience of a person flicker and fade with repeated exposure to that which once offended the conscience.
This of course does not surprise us as Christians. We have long known from experience that every time we choose to do something destructive, it becomes easier and easier. We may have some internal struggle when we first approach a destructive behavior but the struggle goes away with repetition. Soon, the only struggle is if we try to stop. The freedom to do what our flesh wants is a trap that leads to slavery.
In today’s passage, Peter explains what our functional brain imaging has shown 2,000 years later. When we use our freedom to pursue our flesh nature, it overcomes us and enslaves us. We think we can dabble in destruction without paying any price, but the price we always pay is our freedom. It is a bitter irony that we voluntarily sacrifice our freedom for slavery.
When I indulge in my pride, lust, food, drugs, anger, greed, and selfishness, those things overcome me and make me their slave. There are those who teach that once we come to Christ, we are no longer subject to the influence of the flesh nature. They insist that we are delivered once for all from that nature and thus cannot be enslaved to it. Christians cannot be enslaved to the flesh.
Just think about what that means. If this were true, it would mean that you do not ever have to worry about any destructive desire of the flesh because you are a Christian. It would mean that no Christian could ever find themselves addicted to any defect of the flesh. If you do struggle and you are addicted to pornography, then you are not a Christian. You have an anger problem? You cannot be addicted to anger and be a Christian. This of course is ridiculous. Peter debunks this kind of thinking by warning Christians that they must do whatever it takes to avoid becoming enslaved again to the flesh.
The blessed reality is that in our spirit lives, we are set free, forgiven and seen as righteous. Through the death of Jesus Christ, we have been saved for all eternity. In this temporal reality of our flesh life however, we have a daily choice to pursue our spirit life or our flesh life. The pursuit of our flesh life leads to destruction and slavery. The voluntary surrender of our freedom to pursue God paradoxically leads to true freedom from our flesh nature. In his divine wisdom, He desires that we choose to love and pursue him. God never enslaves us.
If I want to know authentic freedom from my flesh nature, I daily need to do whatever it takes to deny self and follow God.