The road to heaven is narrow, as Christ said, while the way to destruction is wide (Matthew 7:13). Many take the wide road to their own peril, knowing all the while that they are breaking the ordinances of God and deserving His wrath for doing so (Romans 1:32). Some haven’t joined the narrow road because they haven’t yet heard the gospel of Christ. Others are just stubborn, choosing to pursue an agenda that is free from the control of God. They choose to live out an illusion of freedom, thinking they would rather be able to sin as they want to than have to succumb to the ordinances of God. They have been fooled into thinking that they have true freedom, for they are prisoners of the law of sin and death in their members (Romans 8:2). Rather than deal with the guilt of their sin before a righteous God, they would rather enjoy sin as much as they can until they have to meet God and be forced to bow their knees to Him (Philippians 2:10).
The appeal to be able to live as we want to with no accountability and no remorse is highly attractive to the flesh and the sinful nature. Satan told Eve that God was keeping something good back from her by instituting a rule about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He convinced her that she was a slave of an unfair God Who withheld pleasure from her. She came to believe that true freedom could be found in exercising her free will against the will of God. Adam and Eve found out the hard way that the freedom that they thought they would gain by eating of the tree was actually a curse that would lead to division, death, destruction, harm, suffering, and a loss of pleasure. When we sin, we will experience the pleasures of sin for a while, but we must understand that its pleasures are passing (Hebrews 11:25). The curious thing about sin is that it must be indulged more and more deeply in order for it to continue to bring the same level of pleasure. Sin’s exploits must grow grander and grander until it eventually consumes us. Its wage is death and the lake of fire. Thus, sin provides us no advantage for the life to come, only misery, pain, and horror. Its pleasure is most certainly bound to this life on earth, and even this pleasure is nothing compared to the joy of the Lord.
Satan’s way is always a way of bondage. It is thievery because God’s pleasures are far better, more fulfilling, and longer lasting than the devil’s concoctions could ever be. There will be an eternal bondage in hell for those who remain under the control of sin, Satan, and self. True freedom can only be found when we are freed from our sinful ways, propensities, and natures. Only the Spirit of God can give us rebirth and regeneration that will enable us to finally be who God has created us to be. True freedom is found in submission to the truth, which alone sets us free (John 8:32).
Romans 6:17-18 says, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” There are two options for living. The first is to obey sin, and the second is to obey God. Either way we are slaves, though one way leads to the freedom, life, and joy that we have always wanted. Many people don’t want to enter into a relationship with Christ that will require them to follow after His commands. They want to know that their sin is forgiven, but they don’t want to truly submit to the will of God for their lives. Yet Christ calls us to surrender to Him as Savior and Lord (Romans 10:9-10). In that sense, we become His slaves willingly. He doesn’t force anyone to live for Him. He simply tells us that His way brings life, fullness of joy, and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). We must choose to honor Him as our Master if we want Him to honor us in the life to come.
So many think that they have freedom because they have chosen not to become slaves of God. Following Christ might be hard. It might cost us family or friends, but it is well worth it in light of eternity. We can enjoy the pleasures of sin for a lifetime in theory, but we would be much better off forfeiting the passing pleasures of sin in exchange for joy and pleasure forever in Christ. We can’t even fathom the riches of the life to come.
Let us remember that God’s ways are not cruel, unfair, or stealing something from us. James 1:25 says, “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” The fact is that we can’t live apart from the eternal law of God and still experience the blessing of God. Freedom is only found within the bounds of sinless living. When we submit to our Lord, we remain free from the grasp of sin. When we disobey our Master, we enslave ourselves. The hope for the believer, however, is that God forgives us immediately when we confess our sins to Him and return to living according to His will and ways.
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” If we want true freedom and the promise of true pleasures that will endure forever, we have but one choice. We must submit to the will of God and allow the Spirit of God to lead us into all truth. When we give up what we think this world could give us in exchange for what only Christ can give, we will find true pleasure and freedom.