Time and again when faced with the constraints in life that we consider restrictive, we desire to be liberated, we decide to leave home and travel to the other side of the city, the country, or travel to a distant country to start life anew away from what we considered confining. Here we can do “our own thing”, what we desire to do, without having to be accountable to anyone; and here the dilemma commences. We get involved with other like-minded individuals and get captivated on fascinations that begin to enslave us, and we get so involved there is no escape from our captivity; we long to be liberated but are unable break away
The first chapter of the Book of Exodus gives us an illustration of what life was like for the descendants of Jacob, the Israelites, who had put down roots in Egypt because of a time of food shortage in Canaan. It is recorded that the original seventy descendants had “multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous” <Ex.1:7 (NIV)>, the older folk had all died and now there was a new group of people. So, the king of Egypt decided to deal deviously with them because he was fearful thy would join with his enemies in case there was conflict with the surrounding nations; “So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor” <Ex.1:11 (NIV)>. This began a life of oppression for a people who were trying to survive a difficult time in their history; they were enjoying life in their new habitat and life was appearing encouraging, now they are faced with a harsh reality as their supervisors “made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.” <Ex.1:14 (NIV)>.
Here, a picture emerges of what life is like for each of us today. We consider ourselves to be at liberty, free to live as we wish, we enjoy all the pleasures that life has to offer. We work, we party, we participate in all the so-called fun activities, and there is no accountability for our actions; not realizing that life is becoming more and more oppressive. Suddenly we awaken to the fact that we are slaves to the habits that we have presumed and there is no escape, as we look for a way out of our oppression.
The Scriptures teach us that this is the condition of all people, as we are under the oppression of Satan. In Scripture, Egypt is a characteristic of the worldly society in which we live, and Pharaoh is a symbol of Satan. Mankind, is sinful by nature <see Psa.51:5>, and is a slave to Satan, and this worldly society in which we live is the scene of his slavery, fastened to him by our sins we are unable to free ourselves for we do not have the power to do so <see Rom.7:14-18>. Not only are we bound to Satan, we are an instrument for his use in doing evil <2 Tim.2:26>; he has blinded our eyes and darkened our understanding <2 Cor.4:4; Eph.4:18>, prompting us to think that our bondage is liberty as we take pleasure in the very sins that bind us to him. Certainly, we continue to have pleasure in our manner of living because Satan allows us to have some freedom to enjoy life, just as the Israelites did <see Num.11:5> in their days of slavery; Satan also deals deceitfully with us. He relaxes our oppressions and releases his chains so that we can enjoy the pleasures of sin and remain bound and blinded for ever. The only escape from physical slavery is the death of the slave; unfortunately, for spiritual slavery physical death is not the end, for Scripture teaches us that the final sentence is eternity separate from, and away from God <Rom.3:23; 6:23a>.
How then can we escape the oppression of sin? Again, we see the illustration in the life of Israel: “The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land…” <Ex.3:7-8 (NIV)>. Just as the Israelites were not able to free themselves or pay for their redemption from the oppression of Egypt and Pharaoh, sinful mankind is in the same situation; we cannot deliver ourselves from the oppression of Satan; and just as freedom for Israel came down from heaven, mankind has to be delivered from sin’s enslavement in the same way; there has to be an intervention from heaven because “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him – the ransom for a life is costly” <Psa.49:7 (NIV)>. Therefore, God had to intervene on behalf of all mankind by sending His Son from heaven to pay the price of our redemption <Jn.3:16; 1 Tim.1:15>. And since the penalty for sin is spiritual (eternal) death <Rom.6:23>, Christ had to suffer death on the Cross so as to pay the redemption price for the sins of mankind <see Heb.2:14-17; 9:26b-28; 1 Pet.2:24; 2 Cor.5:21>.
There was only one way out of Egypt’s oppression for the Israelites; and there is only one way in which mankind can be delivered from the oppression of sin, which is by way of the provision that God has made. There is only one way of salvation from sin and that is through Jesus Christ <Acts 4:12>. Certainly, there may have been Israelites that could have remained in Egypt, snubbing God’s redemptive plan for them; and certainly there are those individuals today that have spurned and will continue to spurn God’s provision for salvation, but the results are the same; there will be no liberation from the bondage and oppression of sin, and the final sentence will be served <Rev.20:12-15>.
So, the question is: Have you been delivered from Satan’s bondage, or are you still a slave to sin? If you have not been delivered from your oppression to sin, the way out is acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice for your sins; believe the message of the gospel <see Rom.1:16; Jn.1:12-13; 5:24; Acts 16:30-31>.