Set the Captive Free
A devotion by Alexis A. Goring
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy, instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
–Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
Harriet Tubman, born into slavery, was an American abolitionist and social activist. She is famous for not only escaping slavery but going on many missions to set slaves—including her family and friends—free through what American history books call the “Underground Railroad.” This was a network of anti-slavery activists and safe houses that assisted slaves on their journey to freedom.
Tubman is also known for this quote: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
I reflected on the meaning of this during a crucial time for members of the African Diaspora on American soil. A spiritual parallel formed in my mind: Jesus Christ wants to set sinners free from the shackles of sin, just like Tubman set the slaves free from that unjust and evil system. But do we know we’re sinners in need of a Savior? We are all sinners saved by God’s grace, but so many of us feel like we don’t need Him. We feel that we can live without Him. Many of us are so adverse to religion that we say things like “Christianity is just not my thing,” all the while we don’t realize that we are in a battle between good and evil.
The Bible is clear: in the end, God wins! He is forgiving and compassionate. He will forgive all your sins if you confess and repent. God wants to reconcile you so that you will spend eternity with Him. This eternity is completely free from sin, suffering and sorrow. It’s a perfect place where all is well and filled with goodness. But to do that, we have to first realize we are sinners in need of a Savior.
We must accept Christ’s gift of salvation and follow Him all the way to Heaven. We must know that Earth is not our home. The Bible says we are pilgrims passing through this Earth (1 Chronicles 29:15) and that Heaven is our final destination. Just like Tubman set many slaves free, the Bible says that God wants to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). That’s us. We need to be delivered from sin.
Our eyes must be opened so that we don’t fall prey to the devil’s wiles. We need to reject the ways of this world and allow Christ to renew our minds. Then we can know God’s will (Romans 12:1-2). We need our Savior more than we know. Time is short. God will not allow this sin parade to continue forever. A time will come when He tells Jesus to go get His children (all who chose God and lived for Him). When that happens, it will be too late to choose good over evil. The Bible says that God will say “Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” (Revelation 22:11).
This is the real deal. God doesn’t play. He wants us all to be saved, but one day He will say, “enough is enough.” He will rescue His children and destroy the devil and all of his evil angels, along with humans who choose evil. He beautifully promised in Revelation 21:4 (NIV): “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Place your hope in God, not humankind (Psalm 146:3-9). Remember that He loves you with all of His Heart! He’s done everything to reconcile your heart with His (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). All you have to do is accept Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation (John 3:16), believe in God, then follow Jesus all the way to Heaven.
Song of Reflection: “Just for Me” (song) by Donnie McClurkin. Listen to it here.