Here is a short story that illustrates how many Christians live in bondage even though their identity in Christ is one of freedom from sin. I hope this is an encouragement to you.
Once there was an orphan who had lived a life of bondage and fear, deceived by his captors. As a beggar, he wandered the streets and wallowed in filth. He lived as a slave, at every beck and call of the heartless and unkind slave owners that imprisoned him.
Then one day messengers arrive with the news that this little orphan has finally been adopted. And not just by anyone, but by the King himself. For some reason the King has chosen to love this poor little boy and bring him into the family. It is an official and legal adoption. This orphan is now the prince of the land, with all the privileges and authority that go with it. He now has authority over his captors, and complete freedom and victory. After all, the victories that the King has won belong to his family also, as heirs.
Only this former-orphan has a hard time believing this is true. He is not sure he has been told the truth by the King’s messengers. Of course those he’s been living with, who used to be his captors, try to convince him that it is a lie and the King could never love such a dirty beggar enough to adopt him. “Why, has the King ever even seen you?” they would say. “Does he know your name? Surly this is a lie. You don’t want to be deceived do you?” For a time the orphan struggles with these doubts.
Then the messengers show him a certificate of adoption, officially written in the Kings own hand. They show him the letter written to him from the King himself. In it the King speaks such beautiful and personal words of love that give the orphan a strange and wonderfully warm feeling down deep in his heart. Suddenly he believes and accepts the adoption of the King. He now knows his adoption is legal and complete, and he tells the messengers to give his acceptance to the King. He begins to correspond with the King. He is very happy to know that the King has loved him so completely and without conditions.
However, though he now believes he is the prince, he continues to behave as a beggar and slave. His captors, having failed in deceiving him of his identity, have now deceived him to think that it makes no difference. “Though you are the prince,” they say, “you must still serve us because you have not beaten us. Just because the King defeated us doesn’t mean you are our authority.” Certainly a lie, but the prince believes them.
The prince continues to live in fear, filth, and defeat because he does not believe that the King’s victories are his own by right of adoption. He does not believe that whatever the King possesses, in wealth or power or armies, is his also by the will of his new Father. Because he does not believe it to be true it makes no change in his life. His lack of faith has kept the facts from becoming reality for him. He does not think himself worthy to wear the Kings rich clothes that have been given to him, so he continues to wear rags.
Indeed, he is not worthy, and did not earn his place in the kingdom, but the King has given this gift of adoption, this gift of Himself, regardless of the worth or unworth of the newly adopted prince. His adoption has given him the right, and made him worthy, to wear the King’s clothes.
Then one day one of the King’s other sons, a joint-heir with the former orphan, came to visit his new brother. He explained to the little prince that he had been made a “new creature”. “All your previous life, all your orphanness, is passed away. All things are become new. Your new life should reflect your new identity”
This statement ignited a fire in the little prince. Somehow, his faith became stronger. He suddenly realized that he did not need to live in filth, or eat mash, or wear stinking rags. He immediately changed into the rich, wealthy garments the King had sent. He decided to eat the succulent morsels the King had afforded from his own table for his adopted son to eat. Such delicious food the prince had never tasted! The flavor of that food washed over him like water, and he suddenly realized all that he had been missing. He decided to walk out of this little shack, and burn all his old rags, and never return to his captors ever again.
And as the eyes of this little prince were opened, he realized that the brother that had been speaking to him was not just any prince, but the “Firstborn” among many brethren. The great Crown Prince, the mighty General of the army, the most powerful Warrior in all the land! Such a joyful embrace they enjoyed, and such laughter that lifted from their bellies, as they walked together toward the palace.
And if those captors, those ruthless and unfeeling slave owners had even the slightest thought of attacking their former slave and bringing him back, it only took one look from the Crown Prince to send them running. The flaming power coming from those eyes and the iron fist gripping the hilt of his sword sent a chill of fear through their hearts that no creature in the land could overcome.
And the prince of little faith gained a little more faith than he had when he woke up.