CAPTIVITY ITSELF TAKEN CAPTIVE
Psa. 68:18 You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the LORD God might dwell there.
Many are not aware of the slavery, the captivity, we are born into. We are part of a fallen race, our souls have been ensnared by the power of sin. This sin took root and reveals itself at the center of our being, our will. Our very free will, given to us by God, became enslaved by the power of sin. In our hearts we still know right from wrong but often find ourselves making wrong, ultimately destructive decisions. These bad choices are rooted in our desire for happiness or pleasure. Our sinful lives and lifestyles keep us under the influence of the prince of the power of the air. The redemption we find through the blood of Christ liberates us from the shackles of sin. We are finally free through the power of God. In today’s verse, Paul reminds us of the ultimate price of sin, separation from God. When Christ rose from the dead, He liberated all the souls from the Old Testament that had died in faith, those looking to God’s future promise of redemption. Before Christ, the Old Testament believers were in sort of a holding tank, Abraham’s Bosom, waiting for the day of redemption. After Christ rose from the dead, the Old Testament saints were liberated from Sheol (Abraham’s Bosom). Those of us living during this New Testament season experience the benefits in this life. Our will is liberated by the power of His love, we are free now to pursue pleasure in God. Here is a quote by John Newton, author of Amazing Grace, that speaks about captivity itself being captured.
“Thou hast led captivity captive. The expression is emphatic. He has conquered and triumphed over all the powers which held us in captivity, so that captivity itself is taken captive. The spirit and force of it is destroyed; and his people, when released by him, and walking in his ways, have no more to apprehend from those whose captives they were, than a conqueror has to fear from a prisoner in chains. The energy of the phrase is not unlike that of the apostle: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
The enemy controlled our lives in the past by the power of sin. Now that sin has lost it’s grip on our lives, Satan has also lost control. Captivity is now captive! We are no longer slaves! Our past sins have not only been forgiven, we are no longer bound by the power of that sin. The controlling power of sin is its promise of pleasure. We have found another pleasure. We have found pleasure in Christ Himself. Today, you can make right choices. Your will no longer has to be controlled by the promise of sinful pleasure. We have found a higher pleasure. Jesus has set captivity captive, He is giving gifts to men.