“We confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.” Many people wrestle with this confessional phrase. On one hand, we know we are sinners. On the other hand, we are freed from the consequence of sin through Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross. But the truth remains, we have not loved God with all our heart, nor have we loved our neighbors as ourselves.
Paul teaches that freedom comes only through Jesus’ death on the cross. Without the gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness through Christ, we have no hope. We cannot free ourselves from the grip of sin. No matter how hard we try, we will fall short. Instead of showing love for our neighbor, we turn inward in selfishness, for our human nature is in bondage to sin.
Paul reminds us of the Christian’s war against sin. We are continually tempted to live according to works of the flesh. However, redeemed by Christ, we are free to reject the sinful life, seek God’s forgiveness, and live by the fruit of the Spirit. Once forgiven, once redeemed, love, joy and peace are ours. Patience, kindness and good ness replace the selfishness of sin. Then, finally, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control rule in the hearts of God’s beloved children. Living by the fruit of the Spirit, we are free to love our neighbor.
Prayer: Help us out away our selfishness, O Lord, that we may love our neighbor as you first loved us. Amen.