In another article, (208) in our quest for the answer to the question What is the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ?, we dealt with the problem of our real guilt and its corollary of real penalty for offending an infinite deity. We are under obligation to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves. Every time we fail through rebellion compounded by ignorance and denial (what is wrong with that?/I didn't do anything wrong!), we only stack up wrath for ourselves in the day of wrath (Romans 2:5).
But these twin issues of guilt and penalty are not the worst of the problems. All of us know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers us an out. That is why it is called good news. That's why being guilty of an eternally consequential sin isn't the worst part of the news. Our sins may have been moderate to heinous, but the forgiveness of God is, like Him, infinite in scope to those who receive it. However, there is more to the sin problem than our real guilt and real, eternal, liability. The worst part of the sin problem is our bondage. Jesus said that "whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" (John 8:34). What does He mean? He means that if we have ever sinned (and we have), we have become enslaved to sin. But what does this bondage mean?
First, bondage means that we cannot escape. Being in bondage simply means to be trussed up in bonds that are stronger than our ability to break them. This doesn't mean that we cannot break bad habits. There are all sizes and kinds of chains. Some, like the gold necklace chains, are small enough for us to break. Others, like the case hardened logging chains used in the timber industry, cannot be broken even by a powerful bulldozer. But Jesus' statement about our servitude is no small chain. The bondage we endure is beyond our capacities. That is why we need a Savior. We do not need a Savior only to pay the penalty for our sins. We need a Savior to break the bondage to sin that we suffer. And this is no small matter.
It is common knowledge that the Scriptures teach that Jesus died for the sins of all men (1 John 2:2). Why, then, will most men perish forever (Matthew 7:14)? It is not because their guilt is too great for the infinite mercy of God. It is not because their just desserts are beyond the payment Jesus made. What is it then? Simply the lack of desire to be right with God. That is the essence of the problem of real bondage to sin. It is impossible for God to forgive those who do not want to be forgiven, and it is impossible for people who are enslaved to sin to want to be forgiven.
Oh, we want to escape the penalties all right. That is the essence of sinful bondage: to want to be able to sin and not pay the price. But, we do not want to escape the pleasures of sin. Our casual approach to the things of God proves this truth. We do not love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.