A devotional by Reverend Dr. Kevin Schwamb
News spread quickly last Saturday about four dual nationality prisoners who were going to be set free by the government of Iran as the result of a prisoner swap. I, like many other believers around the world, had been praying for the release of one prisoner in particular, Pastor Saeed Abedini. Pastor Saeed was wrongly arrested and held in an Iranian prison for over three years because of his faith in Christ. Seeing the release of these prisoners become a reality reminded me of the tremendous difference between being imprisoned and being set free.
The apostle Paul may have had a similar idea in mind when he wrote, in the beginning of Romans 6, that Jesus Christ has set us free from the guilt and power of sin. Prior to acknowledging Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were all slaves of sin. But now in Christ, we should see ourselves as being dead to sin and alive unto God. Our deliverance from sin was the result of Christ stepping forward to die in our place and take our punishment upon Himself. Conscious of the cost that won our spiritual freedom, the only reasonable response is to present ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness.
The release of Pastor Saeed, and the other prisoners, is exciting news and an answer to prayer! Yet, it doesn’t even come close to the news that Jesus died so that we no longer would have to be a prisoner of sin but are free to serve Him with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind!