Free to be a Slave? Part One

During the U.S Civil War an estimated 618,000 men died in order to settle the question of whether one man could enslave another. It is tragic that so much blood had to be spilled for the answer to be No. Yet, it was a noble sacrifice that these men gave their lives for the freedom of their fellowman.
There is only one sacrifice that surpasses those given on behalf of our physical freedom: The sacrifice of the sinless Son of God when He came to free mankind from the bondage of sin and, finally, eternal death. Jesus paid the ultimate price in order to deliver anyone who believes in Him, and in His substitutionary death, from the penalty and the power of sin. Jesus said of Himself, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Those of us who have trusted in Christ’s atoning work now belong to a new Master. In our culture, (one that prides itself on freedom and autonomy), that concept is completely foreign, and maybe even repulsive to us. But Paul reminds us “you are not your own…for you were bought with a price…” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). And he says, “But now having been set free from sin, [you have] become slaves to God…” (Romans 6:22a). Just as our sin required the death of our Lord on the cross, the Lord requires our lives in return.
There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be a Christian. But the truth is, the Christian life is a life of surrender. Our wants are now subject to God’s will. If this is a shocking revelation, let us remember the alternative. We were bound in our own sin nature, serving the lusts of our own desires, with no power within us to save ourselves. James tells us that “sin…leads to death” (James 1:15). But Jesus bought us from the slave block that we might serve Him, a kind and loving Master, One who not only gave His life for us, but One who also knows our needs even before we ask Him. Paul puts it all in perspective: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). After a promise like that, can you imagine belonging to anyone else?
There is a poignant picture of willing servitude in the Old Testament. A slave who chose to belong to his master for the rest of his life could have his ear pierced with an awl. This was an outward sign that he could no longer be bought or sold on the open market. He was marked permanently. Likewise, our Master marks us as His own with His Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit within us is the mark that we belong to our new Master. Paul explains it this way, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).
The choice is before us. There is no middle ground. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for he will either hate the one or love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24).
As the old Bob Dylan song goes, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.” The question is: Whose slave are you?

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About Katherine Wacker

Katherine Wacker is currently a reviewer for Bethany House Publishers, and Howard Books. She is a Craftsman graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild. She holds a B.A in History from San Diego State-Imperial Valley Campus. In her spare time she likes to read books, watch sports, and do jigsaw puzzles. She lives at home with her parents and three dogs, Charlie, Roscoe and Daisy.
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