Andy Hollifield 6-8-17
Matthew 18:27 Then the Lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
Certainly that is exactly what our Lord did for us; loosed us from a debt we could not pay. His Son went to Calvary and paid a debt he did not owe. The word “loose” is used 29 times in the bible. Fifteen of those times it is referring to someone or a part of their body being loosed. The term was used in reference to someone being healed and loosed from their infirmity.
Quite often, more than we want to admit, we fail to receive God’s blessing because we have a sin that we won’t turn loose of. The whole “Hatfield and McCoy feud” after the civil war began because people wouldn’t turn loose of ill feelings toward each other and their opinions. We are pretty bad to do the same type of thing. We hold onto petty little opinions that wind up hindering us from being what God wants us to be. What joy though, when we finally let go of them and repent and God is able to bless us again. A lot of times, it is those kind of things in churches that lost folk will use as a reason not to go to church. While that don’t justify them in the eyes of God, we are no less still responsible for being a hindrance to them. The feud I mentioned above is a good example of how hurt feelings and differing opinions can get out of hand. It would pay us to turn loose of our opinions when they are contrary to the will of God. A lot of my bible-based convictions may be right for me but may not be a problem for someone else. That does not make me right and them wrong. I am not talking about bible truths, I am talking about personal convictions. For example, I have to limit myself on how much news I watch because too much of it will hinder me spiritually. While it may not be a problem for someone else, it is for me. Therefore in order to stay where I need to be with the Lord, I can’t sit and soak that in all the time because it will hinder me.
Anyone that has ever smoked or chewed tobacco and tried to quit knows how hard it is to turn loose of something you enjoy. Some things have a way of taking a hold in your life and we wind up having to get loose from them. I started chewing tobacco when I was 12 years old and chewed and dipped most of my life. I find nothing biblically wrong with it and I enjoyed it. I would be a rich man if I got paid for every time I said I need to quit or if I had all the money I have spent on it over the years. Some people can carry a pouch of tobacco around till it gets old and stale. I can’t. It took great effort back in March of 2011 when I finally did quit. To this day, I know if I took a chew or a dip, I would be right back on it just like I had never quit. I did that one time for five and a half years and thought I could handle some just every now and then like I had seen other people do. I was wrong and it didn’t take but three days and I was hooked again. It took about another 18 years to get loose from it again. I am talking about being loosed from something that has a hold on your mind that you can’t get loose of on your own.
Sin had a grip on all of us just like the tobacco did on me. The only difference is that none of us can quit sinning on our own. It is in our nature that we inherited from Adam. We are no match for the power of the devil. Even after we accept Christ as our Savior, we still have to battle sin. While in my spirit I want to do right, my flesh still has the carnal desires that it always had. Like I heard a preacher friend of mine say once; my soul got saved, not my flesh. The apostle Paul talked about that extensively about himself. In Romans 7:19 he said “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do”. He said he Philippians 2:12 “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. That is not saying salvation is by works. It is saying that you have to figure out the things that hinder you for yourself, and learn to avoid them so that you can have joy in your salvation. Watching news all day may not bother you but it brought me down or angered me emotionally and therefore it was a hindrance to me spiritually. I found that even good programs like “Focus On The Family” would have the same effect sometimes. When they talk about all the “wickedness in high places” in our government and also some of the wicked stuff people do, I can’t listen to but just a little of it before it becomes a problem spiritually. I got laughed at by a friend of mind because I had to quit watching the television show “Criminal Minds”. Even though I enjoy those mystery type shows, I realized it was so graphic that it was just pumping junk into my head that I didn’t need there. It might not bother someone else but it does me. You might think that is silly but if you don’t abstain from what hinders you, you won’t never get where you need to be spiritually. You have to turn loose of hindrances.
While this article may not be very encouraging up to this point, it will help you if you allow it to. My main point I want to make is to “stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance” just like Peter said in 2 Peter 3:1. Remember when God set you free and turned you loose from the bondage of sin. No longer a slave to Satan but freed by the grace of God. John 8:36 says “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you are free indeed”. I have mentioned 2 Corinthians 5:17 before but it is worth noting again; “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. In 2 Peter 1:4 he speaks of all the “great and precious promises” that we now have in Christ because we are “partakers of the divine nature” and have “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”. No longer a slave to the Adam nature we were all born with, but partakers of God’s nature by being born again. According to Philippians 2:5 even our mind should be different after we are born again. That scripture says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. The word “let” implies that we have to allow God to work in our minds. Even Romans 12:1 tells us to “present our bodies a living sacrifice”. It says for us to present ourselves. God doesn’t force us to live right, or act right, or talk right. But if we belong to him, he will chasten us and make us wish we had been obedient to him. He is the ultimate example of a father that loves his child and corrects them for their benefit. If we have been “turned loose” by the grace and mercy of God, we should not have any problem presenting ourselves to him and submitting to his will and purpose for our lives.
In closing, I am thankful that I have been turned loose from the bondage of sin. I am glad that the Lord lives in my heart and will lead me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” as in Psalms 23:3. I am also glad it says in that same verse that “he restoreth my soul”. I am thankful that ever since he saved me, he is not going to turn me loose for any reason. I am glad that Jesus said in John 10:28 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”. I have done all the dying I will ever have to do. I am currently living my eternal life since October 3, 1973. That was when it started. I will lay down this body of flesh when I change my residence but I will be present with the Lord. I asked a funeral director shortly after my dad died if there was breath in a dead body. He told me that when they picked someone up to move them, there was a gush of air released from the lungs. You know what that means don’t you? That means that even the air we breathe, we will breathe out over here and breathe in over there. Perfect air in our new perfect lungs. I don’t know about you but that excites me just to think about it. Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”. I am thankful that I have been turned loose from the bondage of sin but never from the hand of God. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 6-8-17