Being in captivity means that we have been captured by a power greater than we are in ourselves. It also means that we cannot escape and get free. It is true that a prisoner can escape; and this does at times happen. But we must bear in mind that when Satan led us into sin, we in Adam became spiritually dead. And dead men surely cannot bring themselves out of that prison.
We can, however, by God's grace be delivered and be given a new spiritual life which His Son earned for us through His cross. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 4:8 , where we read, "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."
Christ captured captivity and gave gifts unto men. This He did by going into captivity. Not only did He let the ungodly Jews crucify Him -- after having shown His power by casting them down to the ground and revealing that He had power to escape from them -- but He went into the curse which we deserve, in order to take it away from us by His power. He captured the curse and took off from us its clutches. He got a firm grip on our captivity so that He could remove it completely from us, His elect children. He earned freedom from the curse for us. He took away all our guilt and captured it so completely that it can never come back upon us again.
Christ then opened the door into the realm of everlasting blessedness. He is the door to glory. He is the way, because He is the truth and the life. Note that Paul declares that He ascended up on high. We had fallen down so low. Our case was, as far as we are concerned, hopeless. But now it is most sure and wonderful. We will not go back to the garden of Eden. We will not simply enjoy what Adam and Eve enjoyed before they fell into sin. We are going to ascend, that is, get above what they had before they fell. Take along with you that wonderful truth.
Read: Psalm 68:1-19 .
James Montgomery Boice: "You may think that you are different from Lot. But if you have put your job ahead of your family’s spiritual life, if you have put your social advancement ahead of a proper association with God’s people, if you have let your choice of a home keep you from a church in which you can grow in faith and worship—you have moved from the highlands to the plain of the Jordan. I know you will say that you can serve God there as well as at Bethel. Lot would have said, ‘I am as eager as you to serve the Lord. After all, the cities of the plain need witnesses too.’ That was true; they did. But Lot’s heart was not in witnessing. He was doing nothing for God. His heart was set on his possessions, sophistication, and glamour, and for that he lost everything."