Hello, everybody. I want to tell
you a little bit about the product you are now staring in
wonderment at, which must look strangely to you like a CD. Well, it is a CD. But
before you think I’ve embarked on a singing career, please
read the following. I’ll start at the sort-of beginning.
In 1996 I traveled to Newport News,
Virginia, at the invitation of Pastor Robert Allen to
deliver a series of talks on the subject of sin. Why did
Pastor Allen want me? I was a noted expert on the
subject—yeah. In truth, I had discovered something
remarkable in God’s Word concerning "slaves of sin." Ever
hear the phrase? It’s a scriptural one, but dangerously
misused by those dedicated to the task of damning other
human beings (to hell, preferably) who smoke, drink, miss
church, or buy lottery tickets.
I thought, Something must be wrong
here. These people who are condemning other people seem just
as rotten themselves, only worse. They seem just as enslaved
to "something" as their more overtly-flawed counterparts.
Naturally, I searched the scriptures for answers. And
there, in the book of Romans, I saw it—two simple verses
from Romans, chapter six. In verse 18, Paul declared the
Romans to be "freed from sin, " but then, oddly, in the very
next verse, he stated: "As a man am I saying this, because
of the infirmity of your flesh."
Do you see? In the same breath, Paul
declared the Romans freed from sin and infirm in the flesh.
This hit me like a two-hundred pound hailstone. To Paul,
being freed from sin had nothing to do with how much or how
little one sinned. The Romans were freed from sin and
sinning simultaneously. The unavoidable conclusion was:
Freedom from sin was an objective fact, not a subjective
condition based on behavior. Thus, this corollary:
Being a slave of sin had nothing necessarily to do with
one’s deeds, but with one’s disposition. In other words,
the phrase "slave of sin" included not only those who
indulged their flesh, but those who constantly strove to fix
it. A slave of sin was focused on sin—one
way or another!
Mother Theresa was just as much a slave
of sin as Adolph Hitler.
This information changed my life—not
eventually, but at once. Sin no longer had hold of me. I’m
not saying I never sinned again, but that sin no longer had
hold of me; please appreciate the difference. I was free of
my imperfections, even while in their midst. This gave me an
amazing new peace. I now had mature understanding of Jesus’
opinion of me, and because of this, my imperfections lost
their power. By allowing myself to be imperfect, and by
believing the testimony of Christ through Paul, that I
was—even in the midst of my flaws—freed from sin, all guilt
fell away. Did this make me want to sin more? No! The
revelation had such a calming effect on my psyche that I
wanted to sin less. This is quite possibly the ultimate
paradox. It is also quite probably the most underappreciated
truth in scripture.