"The dead man
came out, his hands and feet wrapped
with strips of linen, and a cloth around
his face. Jesus said to them, 'Take off
the grave clothes and let him go.'"
Jesus is standing
outside of Lazarus tomb. He has just
called out to the dead man within:
"Lazarus, come out!". And Lazarus,
indeed, rises up and comes out of the
tomb! He's alive! What a miracle!
But wait a minute.
There's still a problem! Lazarus is
still all wrapped up in the clothes they
wrapped around him when he was placed in the
tomb. He may be alive, but he is still
a prisoner to the remnants of his death!
When we have been
"resurrected" from our death in sin, when we
respond to Jesus' call of: "(your name),
come out!", when we come forth from our
sinful graves, we, too, are usually still
wrapped in "grave clothes" -- tattered
remnants of our past! This may include
addictions, anger, lying, cheating, false
gods . . . the works! Just because we are
made alive in Christ doesn't mean we've
suddenly lost our sinful natures!
Just as Jesus not
only brought Lazarus resurrection from the
dead, but also deliverance from the grave
clothes, He desires to bring deliverance to
all of His Children. You see, Jesus isn't
willing that any of us remain wrapped up in
grave clothes! We aren't dead anymore. We
don't need the clothes! And He says to our
sinful pasts: Remove yourselves from My
child! Let him (or her!) go! You have no
more dominion over this Child of God! John
8:36: "So if the Son sets you free,
you will be free indeed"!
Once we belong to Christ, my friends, we
have already been set free!
That's the good news! All those addictions,
all that pride, all those false gods . . .
none of them can have dominion over us
again, for "If the Son sets you free,
you will be free indeed"!
Let's imagine for a moment that we are
standing with Jesus in front of Lazarus'
tomb. Several men run forward and begin
tearing away the grave clothes from his
body. What if Lazarus had pushed them
away? What if he had said, "I'm sorry, but
that one won't come off!"? Or "No! I still
need that piece!" If that had happened,
then Lazarus would have started the walk
through his new life with grave clothes
still stuck to his body -- grave clothes
that didn't have to be there anymore!
Don't we often do
the same? "I can't seem to get rid
of my anger. I need God to deliver me from
it!" Yes, pride, addictions, false gods,
etc. may still be stuck to us, like the
grave clothes stuck to Lazarus, but the
Bible teaches: "It is for freedom that
Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then,
and do not let yourselves be burdened again
by a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1). In
other words, Jesus has already said:
"Take off the grave clothes and let him go"
to the enemy! The only reason we continue
to walk about in the old life is because we
don't recognize that we are already free!
of begging God to deliver us of the remnant
of our lives in sin, we should be claiming
His truth that we are "free indeed"!
How can we do this? Whenever the old
temptations come your way, try praising God
that you no longer need to succumb to the
old way of life! Praise God that you are
"free indeed"! The enemy hates to hear us
praise God. After a few moments of intense
praise, where we claim the victory that is
already ours, he will back off! He
has no other choice, for the Bible tells us
that when we resist him, the devil will
flee: James 4:7: "Resist the devil, and
he will flee from you." This doesn't
mean he won't try again, but if we meet each
and every temptation to succumb to the old
ways of life by praising God that we are
free, little by little the enemy will start
to back off!
Lord God, help me
to realize that the victory over each and
every part of my old live has already been
won; help me to remember that if the Son
sets me free, I am free indeed"!
Help me, in the face of temptation, to
remember to praise You for my freedom!