There are many people held in slavery today by Christianity. Christians who have a list of rules that they must follow to get into heaven are slaves to that list of rules. Christians who have a list of good works that they must do to get into heaven are slaves to that list of good works. Christians who have a list of theological beliefs that they must never doubt in order to get into heaven are slaves to dogma. And the slaves of rules and works and dogma are all slaves to the fear of death – the worry that they might spend eternity in hell.
The good news is that Jesus came to free us from just this kind of slavery! We no longer have to be afraid of death. No more striving to get enough points to get into heaven, because in his death, Jesus rendered the power of the devil – over eternal spiritual death – inoperable. This frees us for eternal love – to be loved and to love.
14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy (render inoperable or ineffective) the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. (Heb 2:14-16 NRS)
A note you might find interesting: The devil, Diabolos, literally means “slanderer” or “accuser.” Think diabolical! He is an evil spirit that once had the power of eternal spiritual death over us. He lies to us about God and to God about us. We don’t want to believe he is real. It sounds almost silly. But the author of Hebrews did. And I do too. Every time I hear a lie about God or about one of God’s children, I know Diabolos is near by.
Refuse to be held in slavery. Jesus died to set us free from fear and free to love and be loved.
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