BORN A SLAVE, NOW FREE

August 25, 2021

Nothing in life beats true freedom.

I've mentioned Daniel, my brother in Christ, before. He was born free in Burkina Faso. Then at about age eight or nine Daniel's uncle sold him into slavery. HIs life as a slave was brutal. When he was about twelve or so, a Canadian Episcopal priest who was visiting in Burkina Faso met Daniel, became aware of his condition and bought him for twenty dollars.

This priest adopted Daniel, took him home to Canada, brought him into his own house and raised him as his son. The priest gave Daniel all he had to give, including sharing his faith in Christ and leading Daniel into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As Daniel grew in age and faith he became many things. He is now a Bishop in our communion, as well as the head of one of Africa's most impactful charities dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. As you might imagine, sharing Jesus plays a great role. 🙂

Nothing could make Daniel choose slavery over freedom. He has tasted both, and understands freedom's value. He is a living example of today's verse:

CHRIST HAS SET US FREE. NOW MAKE SURE THAT YOU STAY FREE, AND DON'T GET TIED UP AGAIN IN SLAVERY TO THE LAW.

Did you know that you and I actually have similar stories as Daniel? The difference is that we were both born into slavery.

You may be protesting that you're not a slave. But many children of slaves are born and live for a period of time before they come to understand that they have been born into slavery. Sin is a cruel and unrelenting master. Each and every one of us has been born into slavery to sin and its dominating control over our lives. We may live for a while unaware that sin is our master, and may not even recognize our slavery. But that changes nothing. Slaves remain slaves until set free.

By Christ's life, death and resurrection He offers us new life in Him. It is a life of freedom. True freedom. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

CHRIST HAS SET US FREE. NOW MAKE SURE THAT YOU STAY FREE, AND DON'T GET TIED UP AGAIN IN SLAVERY TO THE LAW.

As silly as it seems, those whom Christ has set free can be tricked into exchanging their freedom for a new form of slavery. It is a slavery to the old laws and rules that were given to demonstrate how much control sin actually had over our lives. According to the Apostle Paul, the law was given to us as a tutor to lead us to Christ, in order that through faith we may be declared to be free from guilt.

Christ said that under His new covenant two things cover all the requirements of the law. First and foremost we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength. Second we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

When true and selfless love guides your every action, and that love is rooted in faith, the law is irrelevant. The commandments which were once rules become promises. As you are led by the love of Christ, you will love the Lord God and have no other gods beside Him. You will not commit murder or adultery. Each and every one of the commandments becomes a promise of your freedom, not a rule to be obeyed.

Let me give you an example.

In Florida where I live it is illegal for a husband to beat his wife. A man whose life is controlled by sin may run afoul of that law and suffer the consequences of it. And so that law is necessary and good; but truly only needed for those whose lives are not controlled by the love of Christ. I do not beat my wife. But the REASON I do not beat my wife has nothing to do with the law that forbids it. The reason I do not beat my wife is because I love her with the love of Christ and cherish her.

In fact, if for some reason Florida should repeal the law that makes assault and battery illegal, my wife has nothing to fear. It is not the law that restrains me, but my love. To carry the illustration to absurdity, if Florida should pass a law to require husbands to beat their wives on a weekly basis, I would become a felon. Because neither the restraints of the law nor the requirements of the law would determine my actions; only my deep love for her rooted, grounded and directed by my faith determines the manner in which I treat my wife.

CHRIST HAS SET US FREE. NOW MAKE SURE THAT YOU STAY FREE, AND DON'T GET TIED UP AGAIN IN SLAVERY TO THE LAW.

Some people come to Christ and then get trapped into returning to the slavery of the law, forgetting the freedom grace brings. They set up rules and regulations, some actually based upon scriptural principles and others upon a desire to guard holiness; but laws none the less. Some churches forbid eating meat, other churches forbid drinking wine. There are churches that have rules and regulations against playing musical instruments in church, dancing, chewing gum and playing cards. Now you may have a personal preference for or against any of these things; but to allow them to define your personal holiness is a trap. It is a step towards getting tied up again in slavery to the law.

The Apostle Paul asked, "If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations — â€œDo not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch.”  These have indeed an APPEARANCE of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of NO VALUE in stopping the indulgence of the flesh."

Grace does not promote either gluttony or drunkenness, but only the freedom to live a life guided by love of God and love of neighbor. Grace never promotes sin, nor can the riches of God's grace be used as an excuse to engage in sin that His grace may abound.

Grace is about freedom. Freedom to love Christ and let that love guide our actions.

We who were born SLAVES to sin have been set free in Christ. Make sure you stay free!!!

CHRIST HAS SET US FREE. NOW MAKE SURE THAT YOU STAY FREE, AND DON'T GET TIED UP AGAIN IN SLAVERY TO THE LAW.

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