August 25, 2017
Free to Be a Slave
By Skip Heitzig
Here in America, I would say that we more or less value freedom above all else: freedom to live how we want, when we want, where we want. After all, freedom is what has brought and continues to bring people from so many nations to our shores. But what does God have to say about freedom?
As Christians, we talk a lot about freedom. Jesus Himself said, "If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). But what have we been set free from, and, more importantly, what have we been set free for? I don't think many believers bother to ask that second question. We all know we've been set free from sin, but fewer of us realize we've been set free so we can become slaves of God.
Read what Paul wrote in Romans 6: "Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living…. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy" (vv. 16-19, NLT).
Every person is a slave to something or someone. My question for you is simply this: Are you the Lord's slave? Have you relinquished your life over to the control of an alien will—God's will?
In Old Testament times, if you couldn't pay off your debt, one option was to become an indentured slave for six years, being set free in the seventh year. But if you grew to love your master and wanted to keep working for him voluntarily, you could do so. To signify this, you would get a hole punched through your earlobe while standing against the doorpost of his house.
So there were essentially two types of relationships a slave could have with their master. They could serve out of poverty: "I'm serving because I have to." Or they could serve out of loyalty: "I serve because I want to." The message of the gospel is that the more you willingly become Jesus' slave, the more freedom you experience. On the flip side, the more you become a slave to other things or yourself, the less freedom you experience.
When Jesus Christ was on the cross, He gave the greatest declaration of independence of all time. Toward the end of His crucifixion, He said, "It is finished," which meant the penalty for sin had been paid in full and we'd been set free. That's our declaration of independence—that we can be forgiven and set free by placing our trust in Jesus.
If you're in bondage to something today—whether it's an activity, another person, or yourself—and you want to be set free, I encourage you to start by simply asking the Lord to help you step out of that bondage into real freedom. The cross of Christ can set any prisoner free—free to then be His slave. But I'll tell you this: He takes good care of His servants. You'll discover that being His slave offers the greatest possible freedom you could ever have in this life.
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