Freedom or Captivity?


Check out this fascinating true story about living in fear instead of living in freedom.


Shōichi Yokoi was a sergeant in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War, and was one of the last three Japanese holdouts to be found after the end of hostilities in 1945. He was discovered in the jungles of Guam in January 1972, almost 28 years after U.S. forces had regained control of the island in 1944.


Fearing for his life, Sergeant Yokoi stayed hidden in a jungle cave for twenty-eight years, coming out only at night. Even when he figured out the war was over, he was afraid to come out for fear he would be executed. Eventually he was discovered by two local men checking their shrimp traps. The local men had assumed Yokoi was from a nearby village, but he thought his life was in danger and attacked them. They managed to subdue him and carried him out of the jungle.


Yokoi later said that he expected the local men to kill him, but was surprised when instead they allowed him to eat hot soup at their home before turning him over to the authorities. He was in relative good health, but slightly anemic due to a lack of salt in his diet according to doctors at Guam Memorial Hospital. His diet had included wild nuts, mangos, papaya, shrimp, snails, frogs, and rats.


“It is with much embarrassment that I return,” Yokoi said upon his arrival in Japan in March 1972. The remark quickly became a popular saying in Japan. He had known since 1952 that World War II had ended but feared coming out of hiding, explaining that “We Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive.”


Sergeant Yokoi was living in fear when he could have been living in freedom. He was living in squalor when he could have been living in comfort. He was living in a primitive cave when he could have been living in his homeland.


What a tragedy, you say? But what about the multitudes of people who live in bondage to sin when they could come out of hiding and live in spiritual freedom? What about the millions and billions of people in this world who live in captivity to Satan instead of receiving the glorious gift of salvation from Jesus Christ? They are living under the indictment of sins that have all been dealt with. They are overwhelmed by guilt and shame instead of living in glorious forgiveness and cleansing and redemption!


We were lost in sin and there was nothing we could do to change the coming judgment of eternal suffering and punishment. What could be done? The Apostle Paul declares, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).


What we could never do, God the Father in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, did for us. As the song proclaims, “He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sins away. And now I sing a brand new song “Amazing Grace” the whole day long. Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.” All praise and honor goes to Jesus who paid the penalty for sin that we could never pay. He forgave us our sin, set us free from bondage to Satan and the kingdom of unrighteousness, made us a New Creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17), gave us a new identity and purpose, and made us part of His forever family. Praise His mighty and glorious name forevermore!

 

This Sunday, October 16, we will continue our fall teaching series, “We Believe!” with “Salvation!” Original Sin brought terrifying consequences but thankfully Christ’s blood can wash away every sin and stain! Please invite someone to join you at 10:35am in the building or online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). We Livestream every Sunday to both locations.


Coming Up: Ladies and girls, the next “Made with Aloha” lunch gathering to make gifts to bless others will be Saturday, November 5, at 11:30am in the Fellowship Hall. The next Drive-Thru Prayer outreach is 1pm that day.


Aloha ke Akua!