You have been convicted of sin and the verdict is in. What’s the verdict? NOT GUILTY! Jesus came to earth bearing the good news of salvation. He came to free the captives. The synagogue’s attendant handed Jesus the book of Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down (Luke 4:16-20).
Salvation Has Come
More than two thousand years ago it was announced that the chains had been broken. All prisoners of Satan were now free to go. The sin debt was paid in full at Calvary by the Son of God. This is the good news of the gospel of Christ. It can be summed in one word: SALVATION. Salvation is not just for the hereafter. It is for the here-and-now. To receive salvation is to receive wholeness. It is the will of God that we are made whole–complete–in every area of our life.
The Amplified Bible translates Isaiah 61:1 to read: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound.”
Today, friends, salvation has come to you. You have been a prisoner of Satan for too long. Today, your chains are loosed if you accept the provision of salvation that God has provided for you. You are the righteousness of God in Christ, for God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for you, that you might be the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). You have been judged by the Judge of judges and found NOT GUILTY of the charges of sin brought against you.
Grace and Truth Came by Jesus Christ
Freedom is not free. What does freedom mean to you? Before you can be free you must define what freedom means to you. Once defined, ask yourself what do you want to be freed from? Do you want to be free of depression, pain, addiction, or loneliness? Whatever you want to be freed from, Jesus has made it possible. The Judge of judges has proclaimed you “Not Guilty!” You are no longer held accountable for your sins. Christ has set you free.
Once I was captive to crack cocaine. But when I learned the truth of salvation the chains were broken and my release was imminent. I felt clean. I no longer felt guilty. Today I live free of condemnation with absolute assurance that I am not guilty. I am a living witness that the truth of God’s word will set you free.
I have listed six things that will ensnare you and keep you from knowing the truth that sets the captives free. Today is your day to receive truth. You have been judged and God has found you not guilty of the charges of sin against you.
Imprisoned by False Guilt
If you have ever felt feelings of guilt when you didn’t do anything wrong, then you know what it is to experience false guilt. Guilt makes you feel that you are not normal, that you are in some way flawed. It makes you feel as though everything bad that happens is your fault.
The devil takes advantage of your unstable emotions and he uses your inadequate feelings of guilt to make you condemn yourself. Today, salvation has come to you. Remind yourself that you are not guilty. When Jesus was crucified, He set the captives free. You are no longer imprisoned by false guilt. God does not condemn you, so stop condemning yourself. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).
Shackled to Your Emotions
If you get emotionally upset regarding little things, you are the kind of person that carries your feelings on your shoulders. You are captive to your own emotions. If you wake up in the morning and you’re still upset about something that hurt your feelings yesterday, then you are shackled to your emotions. You must realize that you are not guilty, for Christ absorbed your guilt when He redeemed you. Don’t allow your feelings to determine your day. How you react to this day will determine the quality of your life in years to come.
When things don’t go your way, don’t give in to your emotions. Jesus has set the captives free. You are no longer shackled to your emotions. Open your eyes to this truth: You can be angry, but don’t let the sun go down on your anger (Ephesians 4:26). The danger of being shackled to your emotions is the devil can make you respond to the way you feel. He knows you will respond to your emotions rather than respond to God.
Ensnared by False Teaching
False teaching is destructive in so many ways because it leads us away from God. The Bible tells us that we are not to believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). False teachers will deceive anyone who will listen to them and their untruths regarding God. They do not want you to know that Jesus has set the captives free of their false teaching.
There are religions that assert that there are many paths to God. But Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” This statement strikes anger at the very core of religion. Many people think all religions lead you on a spiritual path to God.
The snare of religion focuses on the morals of a leader who makes the assertion that “if you follow me I will show you how to find the truth. But Jesus boldly tells us that He is the way to God (John 14:6).
Many people believe they are saved by their good works. They do not believe in the salvation of the gospel. They believe that as long as they are morally good they will obtain favor from God. Subsequently, they spend their entire lives working trying to get God’s approval. However, you cannot be saved by your good works. The Bible says “we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)” (Romans 5:1). Therefore, you are not guilty of the crimes imposed upon you, having been misled by false teaching.
Prisoner to lying and deception
The captivity of lying begins to take root in our lives at a very early age. The devil knows that everyone likes to be liked, so Satan deceives us into thinking that we are not liked by others. We discover at a very young age that lying is one of the ways to get people to like us is to lie. People fear being rejected, so we lie about who we are, about what we can do, and about what we have.
When you know the truth, the truth will set you free. What is the truth? You are NOT GUILTY! If people could know the truth about God based on their intellect alone they would be able to free themselves from whatever has them captive. The devil deceives us with his lies to prevent us from knowing the truth about God. Thank God for salvation, that is, redemption from the sin of lying through faith in the redemptive work of the cross.
Restricted by Unforgiveness
You pray and you go to church, you give to the poor, and you try your best to live according to the Bible. But despite all of the good that you do, you just cannot forgive your father for something that happened years ago. You are restricted by unforgiveness.
Unforgiveness is a form of self captivity and it hurts you more than it does the person you won’t forgive. God commands us to forgive, but we must choose to forgive. When we choose not to forgive we make ourselves captives of an unforgiving spirit. Nevertheless, God has declared you not guilty by reason of your faith in the salvation plan God has provided for you.
God says, “…if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). Jesus gave an illustration of unforgiveness in action in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. But sadly, there are a lot of unforgiving servants around today. There are people who go to the same church as you do who still harbor resentment toward you for something that happened years ago. They don’t realize that they are being held captive by unforgiveness. Fight the good fight of faith. Declare that you are not guilty fo the crime of unforgiveness. Your debt has been paid in full.
Restrained by fear
Today, people live in absolute fear of everything. Fear is an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger; concern about something that threatens to bring bad news or bad results. Fear causes you to worry about something that may or may not happen.
Fear is a spirit of captivity and it comes directly from the devil. The devil wants you to be fearful. He knows if he can keep you imprisoned to your fears that you will never fully have confidence in God. He knows that fear will keep you from possessing the things God has promised you. The Word of God says, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear…” (Romans 8:15).
It is God’s desire that you live free of fear. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). The truth that the devil does not want you to know is that you are not guilty. The chains that once held you bound to fear have been broken.
Receive your freedom
Jesus came to free the captives from every form of imaginable bondage. However, to experience freedom from bondage, you must receive the free gift of salvation. The scriptures say: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The key to experiencing freedom from bondage is to believe in the Son of God. That is why the scripture says, “…whoever believes in Him…” The way to believe is to receive. Today, salvation has come to you. Today, start thanking God for the gift of His Son. Jesus is the truth; He is the Word of God, and He came to set the captives free.