Wednesday, June 22, 2011

True Freedom

 1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

23 τιμῆς ἠγοράσθητε· μὴ γίνεσθε δοῦλοι ἀνθρώπων.

This verse appears in the middle of Paul's argument about how we are to deal with relationships. Husbands and wives own each other's bodies; therefore, the sexual relationship should not be withheld except by mutual agreement and then only for the purpose of prayer. Then he goes into a long discussion of marriage. He says that marriage is a good thing, but if you are called to be single that is even better. Despite what the Roman Catholics teach regarding their priests, there is only an extreme few who are called to be single. No matter what, Paul would never call for the dissolution of a marriage.

What does this verse mean? It tells us that our allegiance is to the Lord. Although this is an unpopular concept here in America, we are born as slaves. Specifically, we are born as slaves to sin. The whole advertising industry banks on this fact. We are slaves to our own desires, which is why the promises of a bigger TV, a bigger house, a better vacation, or a younger and more attractive lover are so appealing to us, for example. We are slaves to ourselves until Christ redeems us.

A myriad of metaphors exist for this concept. An easy one for most Americans to comprehend is a mortgage. Our houses cost so much money that it takes 20-30 years to pay for them. Now imagine you received a letter from your lender informing you that your mortgage was paid off. It's so incredible to be unthinkable, right? Yet that is kind of what happened at the cross. The only problem is that only scratches the surface.

The problem here in America is that we are so accustomed to our freedoms that we don't really understand our slavery. We are going to be slaves to someone. Will it be to Satan or to the Lord? If you are in Christ then Christ purchased you with His blood. Do slaves have an option as to whether they will do their master's will? Go back 200 years and ask anyone with dark skin here in the South and I think they will give you a pretty clear answer that they don't have much choice. If they disobeyed there were consequences. We'll get into that more later when we get to the concept of fathers disciplining their children, but the point is that we don't have a choice.

And the good news is that, unlike the Southern slave of the 19th century, our master is perfectly kind and good. He may ask us to do things that are uncomfortable, but they are all for our good and for His glory. The men and women enslaved in early America could not always say that. And certainly the modern slave to Satan cannot say that.

We have true freedom through our slavery to Christ. We were bought with a price so that we might serve and worship Him. Let's enjoy the blessing of serving our Lord, amen?

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