“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:20-23)
Slavery vs. freedom. The choice is obvious. Given the choice, freedom is the natural decision. But as a slave, what choices do you have? You are driven by other forces beyond your control – appetites, peer pressure, blindness. But how does one transition from slavery to freedom? A slave cannot buy their own freedom unless they have the resources to pay the price for that freedom. And since the slave hardly earns the financial resources to meet the market demand for their freedom, they must depend upon alternatives. The alternatives are death in slavery or redemption from slavery through someone else paying the price – either the slave owner or another.
In spiritual terms, we are all born into slavery. Slavery to sin thanks to the curse applied by the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As slaves, we are governed by our appetites and owned by our enemy, Satan. As he is the “god of this world [who] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) Our choices for freedom from this slavery are death within slavery or redemption to a new life under a new Lord. “For the wages of sin is death.” This is what we earn for our labors to fulfill our natural selfish appetites. But God offers a better alternative, if only we would open our eyes to see it and take hold of it.
Because our slavery in sin demands a price to be paid for our freedom, and because that price is too great for us to pay it on our own, God Himself paid the price to give us a new life. He redeems us from the penalty of sin by becoming sin on our behalf. “For our sake, He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) The price of death was paid on the cross of Calvary in order to redeem us from the curse of slavery to sin.
As a result, we are provided a new life with a choice. We can choose to live life as a bondservant to our new Lord and enjoy the benefits of our service to Him. The fruit of this life is a treasure most glorious and provides hope beyond our imaginations. However, all too often, we choose to reject His redemption in favor of the familiar chains of bondage. We grow comfortable and adjust to our shackles of pride. We grow complacent and sit on the sidelines, not contributing to the household of our Lord. We live in fear of the discipline of the King rather than live in the freedom of being a child of King.
Freedom is a gift, a gift that we did not nor could we ever do enough to earn. Freedom is also a choice. God doesn’t force Himself upon us. We still have a choice in the matter. We can choose to accept His gift of grace that leads to an eternal life here and now, as well as in the hereafter. Or we can choose to reject His gift and continue to languish in our chains and bondage, wondering why life never gets any better and why we never see any further than our own hand in front of our faces. Just as any parent offers their child a gift, the gift is not theirs until they accept and take possession of the gift. The same principle is true of the fruitful gift of eternal life that God offers us. A life that is lived “in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Not “Christ Jesus our Teacher.” Not “Christ Jesus our Savior.” Not “Christ Jesus our Friend.” It’s “Christ Jesus our LORD.” He paid a price to set us free from our old life. Why then do we continue to live like we are still slaves? The reality is still this: we are either slaves to sin or we are slaves to His righteousness. There is no other option. Freedom is found in righteousness. Not our righteousness, which is worth nothing more than filthy rags.
“We have all become like one who is unclean,Isaiah 64:6
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
His righteousness, however, has earned Him the seat on the throne of grace.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”Romans 3:21-24
The King invites you to His table. He redeems you into His household of faith by His sovereign will. He longs to know you and gift your with freedom beyond what you can possibly imagine. Step away from the chains that lead to death and live a life in the embrace of the Father. The price He paid is worth your devotion.