Forgiveness Series – Part 2: Captive vs Prisoner

Is there a difference between a captive and a prisoner? In the Bethel Sozo training dvd they state that there is and refer to the following Bible verse:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” Isaiah 61:1 (NLT)

Here we read the reference to captives and prisoners and my interest was sparked. In Luke 4:21 (NLT) Jesus reads the above scripture and declares that: “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”. Therefore, Jesus came to release the captives and free the prisoners. But what is the difference? My research has led me to the following:

As a captive we are taken from being free to having constrains or bondages placed upon us. Although we might still be in a familiar place we are restrained from being able to move freely. Captives are usually dealt with harshly, they receive no mercy, and are usually abused therefore suffer horrific treatment. The Israelites were led away in chains from Jerusalem to Babylon (Jeremiah 40:1) physically but we can find ourselves in such a state spiritually. As a captive we may be bound but still able to move around a bit. Captivity usually entails moving from a familiar place to an unfamiliar place where we become a prisoner. As a prisoner we don’t have liberty (freedom) we may be still restrained but we are also now confined and or contained in an unfamiliar place. Not much movement can happen if any at all. As a prisoner we move from being captured and shackled to now being in a prison cell.

God highlighted to me that as a:

  • Captive we are restrained
  • Prisoner may still be restrained but are now also confined

My story, about being imprisoned, was written to try and convey the idea that someone has taken us captive, put us in chains and done unspeakable things to us. Then thrown us into a prison cell leaving us to die in great pain. The person who has hurt us may think of us no more or they may come back to taunt us each day. Whatever the case is we can be free.

 Liberty and Freedom

Oxford Living Dictionaries defines liberty as: The state of being free.…from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life or behaviour…

Bible Study Tools explains liberty as the opposite of servitude or bondage, hence, applicable to captives or slaves set free from oppression.

Oxford Living Dictionaries defines freedom as: the state of not being affected by something undesirable; and a special privilege or right of access.

Bible Study Tools states that the theme of freedom rings loudly in one of the most crucial sections of Scripture, namely the narrative of the exodus. God’s people were enslaved in Egypt, they were suffering and He desired to see them set free. God longed to see His people reconciled to Him and He wanted them free so that they could love and serve Him. But the people found it hard to obey God and love Him with their whole hearts. Psalm 106:43 states that God rescued them many times but they continued in their rebellious ways, they chose to ignore His warnings which meant they sank lower and lower into wickedness and were destroyed by their depravity. Romans 8 (5,7) explains that our human minds fix upon things which satisfy the flesh, we have a mindset that is actively hostile towards God’s plan and refuses to submit to His direction; laws and instructions because it simply can’t. This reveals that there was a deeper issue than just physical captivity. There was a divine liberty that was needed.

But what is this divine liberty?

In Luke 1 we read that redemption has come and that Jesus brings us salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us (Luke 1:68,71).

They prophesied he would come one day and save us from every one of our enemies and from the power of those who hate us.” Luke 1:71 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Romans 8 explains that God sent Jesus to accomplish what the law was unable to accomplish, because the law was limited by the weakness of human nature. We were imprisoned and held within the fierce grip of sin. To experience freedom we need to be clear about who has authority over us, if we are captured or imprisoned we need to understand who we are in bondage to. We need to ask ourselves the tough questions such as: Have I given full authority of my life to God? Have I asked Him to release me from the bondage of sin? Have I claimed my redemption through Jesus?

In 2 Peter 1 Simon-Peter refers to himself as being a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ. Another way of describing this is that Peter chose to be a loving servant of Jesus, he acknowledges Jesus as having authority over him. Peter committed himself to serve Jesus in any way that he could, and we know that he served to the point of death!

For a captive to be released or a prisoner to be freed someone has to speak in their defence, a proclamation of freedom needs to be made and proof provided to show their innocence.

The wonderful news is that Jesus has and will always speak in our defence, He has proclaimed and will forever proclaim our freedom!!!!

His scarred and nail pierced body is the eternal evidence that paid the price; Jesus’ blood claims our redemption; and Jesus provides the evidence we need for innocence!!!

Jesus bore the price for all of our sins. WOW! Isn’t that just too wonderful?

Let’s look at that some more and try to fully understand this truly wonderful Good News:

We are liberated:

Romans 8:2 declares that the law of the Spirit of life flows through Jesus Christ to us as His followers and we are set free (liberated) from the law of sin and death.

Because Jesus has paid the price:

Jesus was sent in human form (in the likeness of a sinful man) to identify with human weakness and as an offering for sin (Romans 8:3b).

Jesus personally carried the sins of the world in His body upon the cross, that is our past sin, any present sin and any sins we may commit in the future. They are ALL covered because Jesus willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice for us! Jesus’ great sacrifice has made us dead to sin, which means that we are immune from the penalty of our sins, and we are no longer held with the power of sin. With Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we can live a life of righteousness. Jesus’ body was beaten, whipped and wounded so that we can declare: ‘by Jesus’ stripes we are healed!’ (1 Peter 2:24).

When Jesus becomes our Lord and Saviour we can hold to the following promises:

  • No longer live a life according to our flesh chasing after worldly things
  • Live our lives guided by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit
  • Have a brand-new mindset which brings us life and peace
  • we have spiritual wellbeing because we walk with God
  • The Spirit of God empowers our lives and directs and guides us
  • The Spirit we receive is one of full acceptance, we are adopted as God’s children because we receive the Spirit of complete sonship which means that we are God’s consecrated children! (see Romans 8:4, 6b, 9, 15 &16)

Forgive others

Because we have received God’s grace and complete forgiveness we’re required to forgive others. God can, and wants to, enable us to forgive; to let go of all of the emotions and strongholds; and to leave that place of imprisonment behind!

We can be truly set free!

Forgiveness may not change the person we’ve forgiven. But The power of forgiveness sets us free! When we forgive the person who hurt us they no longer have any power over us, we’re out of that prison cell and we NEVER have to go back!!

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy.

We have to fight for our freedom every step of the way.

We have to deny that part of us that wants vengeance.

It’s going to be tough BUT the reward is freedom!

The reward is walking in right relationship with God which will put us in a place where we can receive all the healing balm we need!

“The question isn’t how much forgiveness do they deserve. The question is, how much freedom do you desire?” Pastor Steven Furtick

Here is my prayer:

Lord Jesus, You came to bring the Good News and I ask You to come and comfort my broken heart. Lord whatever is binding me I ask to be set free because You came so that the captives could be released. Lord whatever is imprisoning me I ask for You to release me because You came so that the prisoners could be freed (Isaiah 61:1 & Luke 4:21).

Lord Jesus I believe that you personally carried the sins of the world in Your body upon the cross, that is my past sin, any present sin and any sins I may commit in the future. Thank You that they are ALL covered because Jesus You willingly offered Yourself as a sacrifice for me! Jesus Your great sacrifice has made me dead to sin, which means that I’m immune from the penalty of my sins, and I’m no longer held with the power of sin. With Jesus as my Lord and Saviour I can live a life of righteousness. Jesus’ body was beaten, whipped and wounded so that I can declare: ‘by Jesus’ stripes I AM healed!’ (1 Peter 2:24).

Because Jesus is my Lord and Saviour I no longer live a life according to my flesh I will no longer chase after worldly things; I will live my life guided by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit; I have a brand-new mindset which brings life and peace; I have spiritual wellbeing because I now walk with God; the Spirit of God empowers my life, leading directing and guiding me; I have received the  Spirit of full acceptance which means that I’m adopted (through Christ Jesus) as God’s child, I receive the Spirit of complete sonship which means that I’m God’s consecrated child! (Romans 8:4, 6b, 9, 15 &16).

I desire to walk in the abundant life that you promise (John 10:10). In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen.

Many blessings, Keona

3 thoughts on “Forgiveness Series – Part 2: Captive vs Prisoner

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