Tag Archives: slavery

Sin’s Steady Subjection | Bible Gleanings – January 7-8, 2023

Sin has a way of taking over. It does not want to be a powerless prince; it aspires to rule on the throne of your heart like a tyrannical king. It has no desire to be your boss; it wants to be your slavemaster. It wishes to submerge you in its filthy mire, not merely smear a smidgen of it on you. Merely dipping your toes in its enticing waters will not quench its thirst to destroy you; it wants to drown you in a deadly whirlpool of guilt. 

The unknown author of the first psalm evidently had a profound grasp on the overtaking nature of sin. He said, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (v. 1). Did you notice sin’s gradual dominance? The first step toward wickedness is stepping on the evil path—walking in the counsel of the wicked. Then, such strolling leads to standing “in the way of sinners” and holding one’s place. Eventually, you reach the seat of iniquity, where you sit for good.   

We willfully follow this downhill slope of retrogression every time we sin. This is exemplified by every character in Scripture who suffered a moral fall. Each of them took one small step on the path of sin, and before long, they were firmly planted there. They dilly-dallied near the cliff of iniquity until they fell and eventually hit the ground of disgrace. David committed adultery, theft, and murder because of one lustful glance at Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:1-12:14). Cain killed own brother because of one burning ember of jealousy in his heart (Gen. 4:1-12). 

According to pastor and author, R. Kent Hughes, the lethal cycle of sin usually unfolds as follows: “[There is] a progressive desensitization to sin and a consequent inner descent from holiness . . . the pathology of the human factors that lead to a moral fall [are]: desensitization, relaxation, fixation, rationalization, and degeneration.”1

This is true. First, we become numb to sin, treating it as if it were a harmless mosquito bite (cf. Gen. 19:15-16). Second, we become apathetic, lowering our shield and stowing our sword in its sheath (cf. Rev. 3:15-16). Third, the eyes of our idolatrous heart become fixated on the sin for which our flesh hungers—and at this point, we see no use in letting go or looking away (cf. 1 John 2:15-17). Fourth, we justify our sin in every manner possible, and the mind becomes sin’s lawyer, defending it with every conceivable reason and excuse (cf. Gen. 3:12-13). And finally, we reach the point of no return until we hit the ground at the bottom of sin’s slippery slope.

We must heed the Lord’s wise counsel to Cain: “And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Gen. 4:7b). Be mindful that sin is out to get you. Do not deviate from the path of righteousness or sit comfortably in sin’s seat. Take the axe of repentance and cut sin off at its root before it grows. Dethrone it from your heart by the grace of Christ.

  1. Hughes, Kent. Disciplines of a Godly Man (Wheaton: Crossway, 2019), 34, 38.
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).

Grab a copy of Brandon’s latest book, Bible Gleanings Volume II, which features one-hundred more daily devotions gleaned from Scripture:

Prisoners of Sin | Bible Gleanings – August 6-7, 2022

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).

A Safehouse for Sinners | Bible Gleanings – July 10-11, 2021

They were sanctuaries for slaves—homes that made history. Lionhearted abolitionists all across the North volunteered their homes as safehouses for slaves seeking freedom prior to and during the Civil War. Homeowners from Indiana to New York partnered with antislavery activists like Harriet Tubman in a secret network known today as the Underground Railroad. They worked together to provide pathways to freedom for exhausted slaves. And over time, many of these homes were awarded landmark status because history happened within their walls.

When visiting places like the Johnson House in Philadelphia or the Levi Coffin House in Fountain City, one is filled with awe and humility because lives were transformed there. The hardwood floors are not divine. The brick walls are not holy. There is no mystical aura surrounding these historical sites. They are sacred sanctuaries because of what happened there: weary captives were liberated from slavery. 

The same can be said of any biblical church that faithfully preaches the gospel of Christ. A church that proclaims “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) is a holy sanctuary, not because the carpet and stained-glass windows are sanctified, but because enslaved sinners are set free within their walls. It makes no difference if your church is massive or miniscule; what matters is whether miracles happen within its walls. God wants our churches to be “safehouses” for sinners—places where they can be emancipated from spiritual slavery. He wants our churches to be places where hopeless sinners can experience the reality of Romans 6:

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (vv. 17-18).

Jesus came to release men, women, and children from spiritual bondage to sin, the devil, and the world. He said it Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 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). Such exhilarating freedom comes to weary sinners when they hear and believe the truth about Jesus: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). And it is the duty of every disciple to declare the gospel truth so people can believe it by faith. As God said in Isaiah, “[Say] to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’” (Isaiah 49:9b).

Does your church have “landmark status?” Is it a place where history is made, where sinners are redeemed from spiritual slavery? Is it a safehouse for sinners?


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
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 (beagle).

Leaving the Dark Side | Bible Gleanings – Jan 30-31, 2021

Leaving the Dark Side

Finn is an unusual stormtrooper who served in the First Order under the tyrannical reign of Darth Vader’s grandson, Kylo Ren. This new and daring character was introduced to the Star Wars universe in the 2015 film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Finn (or FN-2187) was one of the bad guys—complete with a bulky stormtrooper suit, intergalactic weapons, and allegiance to the dark side. That is, until he made the bold resolve to break free. Finn and Poe Dameron, a captured Resistance commander (one of the good guys), hijack a TIE Fighter and speed away into space, savoring freedom as they escape the Star Destroyer together. Finn was no longer a servant of the dark side—he broke free from their rank and file. He was no longer bound to his old stormtrooper suit. And he began serving among the rebels—the good guys.

Finn’s break-away story sounds a lot like the believer’s conversion story. Paul the apostle explained in Romans that believers have been released from the stranglehold and tyranny of sin: “And, having been set free from sin, [you] have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). Christ made the bold resolve to break you free from “the power of death” and “lifelong slavery” to sin (Hebrews 2:14-15), and he gloriously succeeded. You have escaped from the dark dominion of evil because God transferred you into His marvelous light (Col. 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9). Because you are free indeed (John 8:36), you have died to the old order, the rank-and-file of your former way of life.

Your old relationship to and with sin has been severed and destroyed. And just as Finn ditched his stormtrooper suit, you likewise have shed the old self along with your old ways when you came to Christ: “[You] have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:9-10). What is perhaps most fascinating and paradoxical is that, at your conversion, you died and came alive simultaneously. You came alive at your second birth and you were crucified! As Paul testified, “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Of course, the old you sticks around and continues to cause trouble. You will continue to wage war against sin that lies within, although the old you has truly died. That’s another paradox in the Christian life. But here’s the point: if you have been set free from sin, you cannot live in it any longer—you must live a new life. God buried the old you so that you “might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). And the Spirit of God will strengthen and enable you to live like someone who has broken free from the dark side.

Here is the exciting scene referenced above:


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).

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).