In our society there are millions of people who are trapped…by alcohol, drugs, sexual perversion, materialism, false religions, and you can continue the list. Sometimes these people have been led astray by others and now they are trapped in a lifestyle they can’t seem to overcome. The Apostle Peter speaks of the danger of this in the second chapter of 2 Peter. The entire chapter is basically devoted to the false teachers and religious leaders of his day and how many of them had even permeated the church and would still do so after his death. This is serious reading for us today on how we need to be aware of those religious leaders around us. But the verse that I want to share today is 2 Peter 2:19 (NIV), “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” Peter’s point is that there are many religious leaders seeking to draw sincere believers astray by promising them freedom but yet they themselves live in sin.
But the key principle for today is that “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” You can appear to be religious or even righteous but the basic question becomes, “What really masters or rules your life?” “Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (Joh 8:34 NIV) Jesus wasn’t talking about a single sin but He was talking about continual sin, a lifestyle of sin. When no one else in your religious circle is around how do you act, talk, or think? Even though you profess to be a Christian are you “trapped” by bad habits, language, and actions unbefitting your name, “Christian?” Just as Peter talked about ungodly religious leaders of his day being intent on enslaving Christians of that day so we have ungodly people of today seeking to enslave those around them. And Satan is deceptive in this purpose by offering what sounds good and looks good to us but the intent is to enslave and master us so that we wander off the path of righteousness. To offer the excuse that everyone else is doing it is not sufficient in God’s sight.
The Apostle Paul said, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16 NIV) In every age Christians must face the choices of following the path of sin or following the path of righteousness. Temptation is on every hand and tempters are all around us. We can become slaves to sin again, which Christ has freed us from in His death on the cross, or we can live and walk in the righteousness that Jesus offers. Traps are all around us but we don’t have to be trapped. We can have real freedom in life by choosing to follow the way of the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.