Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. (14-15)
When we look at humanity we see so many radically different groups and we wonder if harmony will ever be possible on earth. We see the ancients and the moderns, the communists and the capitalists, the Hindus and the Muslims, the young and the old, the devout and the debauched and a hundred other breakdowns. I wonder though, in light of verse 15, if there may just really be two categories of men, those who are free and those who are slaves. It says that it is the fear of death that the devil uses to subject men to slavery. How does he pull this off?
Fundamentally, the devil is a lying spirit and by propogating his myths, errors and distortions, he earns his title as the father of all lies. His power rests in his capacity to deceive. He works to convince many that God does not exist. For the rest who believe that He does, satan simply works to distort God’s nature and His ways.
What would you say is the greatest lie being told on the the earth in this hour? Wouldn’t it be that particular lie that causes the most suffering to the most people over the longest period of time? Other ways of asking the same question would be, “What lie do you think the Prince of Darkness works the hardest at promoting?” Or, “What deception, if exposed, would do the most damage to the kingdom of darkness?”
I am proposing that Satan’s worst nightmare is that the sons of God who are currently living as slaves will discover God’s provision of life in Christ and begin living as liberated sons and daughters – children of light – fearless citizens and credible representatives of an eternal kingdom. So, in this scenario, Satan’s most strategic lies are the ones holding the body of Christ in check – the ones you and I are currently and unwittingly entertaining in our own hearts.
When we do break into freedom, and we will because he is bringing many sons to glory, light will be released through the Church not just through better Sunday sermons but in the Word that was made flesh in Jesus and is even now being made flesh in Jesus’ many brothers and sisters. This family is right now spread out strategically in the earth, positioned to shine their light into that specific domain of darkness they have been called to expose.
Putting it mildly, slavery within the church is not a popular topic. How can a pastor speak to his congregation who is supposedely (at least in theory) free in Christ and insinuate that lies being entertained in their hearts are perhaps the place Satan, more than any other, is working to cause the most suffering to the most people over the longest period of time? If these lies exist, as I have proposed, what would they look like?
Since they are lies, and deceptive by nature, they are not going to be obvious to us. It is more likely that we, and others especially, will just see the outcome of the lies such as an absence of the fruit of the Spirit which we have simply come to terms with as normal. The evidence of lies shows up also as a shortfall of the power of the Spirit – a vacuum of the supernatural. We even form doctrines explaining this as normal. Promoting a lie until it becomes the expected norm in an individual or a group is how the enemy enslaves men.
Jesus, better than us, understands the temptation to sell out to the devil. He was posed with various lies in His 40 day wilderness exposure to the father of lies. If you recall these temptations all began with, “If you are the son of God, then you will……..”. Many of Satan’s most effective lies attack our identities. We allow these often negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves to take precedence over God’s words and feelings about us. I know from experience that some of this thinking can become so engrained and normal that deep down in our hearts we can entertain questions about our legitimacy, God’s existence and, amazingly, even His goodness. It is surprising how well we, even as Christians, can serve the father of lies. This is why praying Psalm 139: 23-24 may be as good a kingdom expansion strategy as there is.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
Father, since through Your suffering, You have removed the basis of any fear we might have of death, let us give ourselves unreservedly to Your Life. Go after the half-truths and blatant lies the enemy has sold us that have enslaved us. Liberate us into the freedom of the sons of God which we and all creation are longing to see. Amen.