"Now thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and He revealing through us the odor of the knowledge of Him in every place." (2Co 2:14)
When you were an unbeliever, you were likely a slave to many sins. Since the time that you have become born again, that should be changing. You may slip into sin, but there is a point that you are working toward where you are no longer a slave to any sin. There’s a huge difference between slavery to sin and slipping into sin. The Lord has given us the power to overcome sin, so that we do not have to walk any longer in the ways we used to live. No believer should be content to live a defeated Christian life where he or she is a constant slave to any sin.
"Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin. And the slave does not abide in the house forever, but the Son abides forever. Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." (Joh 8:34-36)
I saw a movie once where there’s an obese man sitting on the couch eating a half-gallon of ice cream as he’s shedding tears over the fact that he can’t resist the craving. His obesity is ruining his life and he does not have the power to stop his gluttonous tendencies. The more depressed he gets, the more he eats! It’s a downward spiral to a very unhealthy lifestyle – an addiction to food. He is a glutton. He knows it, and he hates it. No matter how hard he tries he cannot resist the cravings. This is an example of someone that is a slave to sin. This man is a slave to gluttony.
Let’s look at another example. Suppose that a Christian woman is an avid gossiper. Every cup of coffee she shares with her friends fills the air not with the smell of coffee but with dreadful insults of other people. “Let me tell you about HER. You wanna stay away from that girl! Honey, the other day she passed me by and didn’t even give me a nod!” Before she knows it, she’s in her “gossip mode.” Gossip is a terrible sin. She knows it’s wrong and she hates the fact that she can’t stop herself. But she gets so much satisfaction over “letting it off her chest” that she cannot resist the temptation! After she returns home she realizes her folly and confesses to the Lord, and asks for help. This is not rare... it happens every Monday when she goes out for coffee! For some months she works hard and gets a bit better, only to fall back into her old ways after that. She is living a defeated Christian life. She is a slave to gossip.
Now suppose another woman goes out to lunch with the previous one. She listens to her and for a moment starts to agree with her insults and put her two-sense into the conversation. But she catches herself and recognizes the temptation. With a bit of silent prayer and will power she is able to guide the conversation into a different direction. She slipped but quickly got back up and repented. Do you see the difference between this woman and the first one? This is the difference between slavery, and slipping.
David slipped with Bathsheba, but Saul was a slave to envy (of David). Peter slipped and denied Jesus, but Ananias and Sapphira were slaves to greed. Paul slipped into dissention with Peter and Mark, but Judas was a slave to the love of money. Abraham slipped into doubt and had Ishmael, but Joseph’s brothers were slaves to jealousy and sold Joseph.
Slavery to sin is shown by repeated failings over a long period of time, with no end in sight and little success to resisting. You are not surprised when you fail again into your “same old ways.” However, slipping into sin should surprise us. It is not the norm for us. If you are a slave to a certain sin, you will pre-meditate and make plans to disobey the Lord, but slipping in sin is not pre-meditated. The sins that we slip into we must watch against, and the sins that we are slaves to we must war against.
It's like a man who gets in a wreck and injures his legs. He has to have his wife push him around in a wheelchair. She may be pushing him down the sidewalk and trip over a crack, but she can still walk after that. But her husband must undergo intense physical therapy and healing before he can walk. The woman may slip and stumble, but the man is a slave to his inability to walk! The woman only has to watch the ground to avoid tripping, but the man must fight hard to be able to walk again. If he doesn't go to physical therapy and doesn't exercise his muscles, he'll never heal. Do you see the difference? This is the difference between being a slave to sin, and slipping in it. God is our physical therapist, and our healer. Jesus easily cured physically paralyzed people and He can cure spiritually paralyzed people as well. We've just got to go to our "spiritual therapist" and put in the work.
Examine yourself and see if you are a slave to any sin. When the Lord sheds the light on your life and you discover that you are serving sin instead of righteousness, repent right away and claim the blood of Jesus that by faith, He is powerful enough to deliver you from the sin which you’ve struggled with for so long. Fight against it with all your might. And take Jesus’ words seriously! It’s better to cut off your hand than to sin. Take God at His word and believe it. He can deliver you! You just have to believe it. Through your faith you can be delivered from this wretched slavery and serve sin no longer.
"For everything that has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith." (1Jo 5:4)