Lazarus is Dead, Part 7: Take off the Grave Clothes! -- By Lyn Chaffart
The following Scriptural Nugget is the seventh in a mini-series based on John 11.
 
"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.'" (John 11:44)

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!  What joy! 

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! 
 
But Jesus didn't just call Lazarus forth from the grave to abandon him!  He immediately called out: "Take off the grave clothes and let him go!" Why?  Because Jesus, as the one responsible for raising Lazarus from the dead, also had the authority to declare him free of the remnants of his death! 
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! 
 
Perhaps, instead 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!

In His love,
Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org


(To access the entire "Lazarus is Dead!" mini-series, please click here.)