• johned@aibi.ph

Captivity Captured

by John Edmiston

The Problem

(Ecclesiastes 8:7-8 NIV) Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come? {8} No man has power over the wind to contain it ; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.

The closest real-life person I know to the disillusioned Solomon was an Egyptian university lecturer who was a "sex-addict". He had the same fatalistic attitude to his sin. "I'm trapped, that's my weakness, there is no way out now, life is full of such things."


Sin lies to you. Sin tells you that it has you in its power and while you believe the lie you are trapped. In fact - you are free. The door to the prison is open and you just have to walk out.(Isaiah 52:2-3 NIV) Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion. {3} For this is what the LORD says: "You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed."Notice that "the daughter of Zion" has to participate in her redemption. She is to "shake off your dust, rise up, sit enthroned, free yourself from your chains." Lets look at this a bit further.

Shake off your dust- get rid of the old stuff that "clings". This is perhaps associated with the washing that is baptism.

Rise up
- this refers to activity, not just sitting down but "taking a stand". It may also refer to the ascension ministries (see Eph 2:6,7).

"Sit enthroned"-believers are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.(Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV) And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, {7} in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

"Free yourself- this is the ongoing struggle of the believer to free themselves from sin and wrong beliefs and to be renewed into the image of God's Son Jesus Christ. Romans 6 has been a big help to me here because it tells me that I am "dead to sin". (Read the whole chapter)

(Romans 6:2 NKJV) Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

(Romans 6:7 NKJV) For he who has died has been freed from sin.

(Romans 6:11 NKJV) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The expression "dead to sin" is a lot like the expression "dead to the world". I sleep very soundly and people say that I am "dead to the world" the world cannot interact with me or I with it - though the world and I still exist. Being dead to sin means that you move away from its influence, control and power to the point where it has no hold over you. Sin will try to tell you that it is still in charge. Sorry, Christ is in charge if you are a believer.

Who's In Charge?

There is a story about prisoners of war who were kept in jail after the war was over by the sheer bluff of the Japanese commander. When the news reached the prisoners of of the Allied victory the senior prisoner marched into the commandant's office and said "My commander has defeated your commander, I am now in charge around here." When sin tries to take you hostage don't be helpless like Solomon say to it "I am dead to sin. I am alive to Christ. My commander has defeated your commander, I am now in charge around here."

The Bible says that Jesus has taken captivity captive. This means that He has captured that which has held us captive. He has taken captive the commander of the prison camp and all his infernal guards. Since he has taken them prisoner, since our commander has defeated their commander then we are guaranteed victory. Lets look at this more closely at three of the main uses of the word "captivity" in the New Testament.

(Romans 7:23 NKJV) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

(2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV) casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

(Ephesians 4:8 NKJV) Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."

Firstly we have the captivity to sin in the members in Romans 7:23 - all Christians experience this at some stage. This is "the problem" we addressed at the start. This is the captivity that has been taken captive. Next we find Paul taking captive thoughts and arguments and imaginations. Paul is waging a warfare of the spirit and of the mind in which he is the victor. He is taking captive the thoughts and ideas that imprison people and ensnare them in despair-filled disobedience. Lastly we see that the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ means that Satan's ability to hold us is mere bluff. Jesus has taken captivity captive. He has disarmed Satan and the principalities and powers, and triumphed over them and ascended in glory and power to reign over them and to give good gifts to us.

(Colossians 2:13-15 NKJV) And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, {14} having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. {15} Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Thus we can see that Paul's victory flows from Christ's victory. Victory passes on down the line - just as in the illustration. The Allied victory as a whole gave the prisoner of war victory over the camp commandant - so Christ's victory over Satan and his forces means that we have victory also. Rank is immaterial. Any soldier in a victorious army is higher in "rank" that even a General in a defeated army. Satan is the general of a defeated army. We are soldiers in the winning army. The authority is with us.

The Conqueror

Jesus - as the Victor and Conqueror has risen to a position of supreme power.

(Ephesians 1:20-21 NKJV) which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, {21} far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

And has, as an act of great grace, He has appointed His followers to positions of authority also.

(Ephesians 2:6-7 NKJV) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, {7} that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Being "in Christ" means that we are in victory and in charge with a certain measure of authority. We are not captives of sin but "more than conquerors" through Jesus.

(Romans 8:37 NKJV) Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

What are we conquerors over? Romans 8 goes on to list the things:

(Romans 8:38-39 NKJV) For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, {39} nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Because of God's love we can conquer over "every created thing". That is truly amazing! We are no longer in the grip of the iron hand of Fate and we cannot be disposed of. We have a life that is eternal and indestructible. Even if I am horribly murdered I will rise from the dead and know glory and immortality. I will be victorious over every attempt to destroy me. Neither Caesar or Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan or any of the world's great conquerors can claim that!

Because the essence of the Christian - Christ in you the hope of glory, is absolutely indestructible and eternal and glorious then you cannot be taken captive forever. Even though you may occasionally stumble into the captivity of sin or folly or despair in the end you will be perfectly free.


Life is full of victory Lord because we are in You. While we may not know the day of our death or be able to control the wind or know the future we are not helpless prisoners of fate. Fate is, in fact, our prisoner Lord. In Christ and in prayer and in You we can be more than conquerors. We can take captivity captive. We can be victors over sin. Grant us the faith to live this out. We praise You for this O Lord.


This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.