Reginald was a prisoner of his own appetite. Instead of eating to live, he lived to eat. He couldn’t put down the fork even when his freedom depended on it. According to historians, Reginald III (1333-1371), former Duke of Guelders (also known as “The Fat”) was imprisoned in the castle of Nijenbeek by his younger brother and held in a cell that a normal-sized person could easily escape from. Reginald only had to fight his appetite and diet his way out of prison.
Instead, Reginald ate high on the hog. Each day, his brother sent a range of the most delectable dishes to his cell because he knew that overindulgence consumed him. Reginald only grew fatter. He was imprisoned because he was enslaved by his belly. And because he was powerless to conquer his lust, he died behind bars as a slave to gluttony.
As sinners, we are just like Reginald. We cannot escape from sin’s prison cell because we don’t want to stop eating sin’s rotten fruit. Our corrupted nature tells us that sin is as scrumptious as a shiny apple, and we believe it (Genesis 3:6). We are born incarcerated by depravity, shackled by a heinous hunger for evildoing, and enslaved to sin. As Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34, NKJV).
The good news is that Jesus came into the world to set sinners free from spiritual slavery. “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me,” said Jesus, “because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus wields the sword of the gospel and He shatters the chains of iniquity to set captives free. He is the Bread of Life, and those who receive Him will hunger for the will of God (John 4:31-34; 6:35).
You have been liberated from slavery to sin if you have believed the gospel. For Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). And you won’t die behind the bars of wickedness. As Paul assured,
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:22-23).
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).