Slave: a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another; a bondservant. a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person
Throughout countless ages, history has revealed to us a most heart-wrenching truth. Human beings have been subjected to slavery at the hands of corrupt systems and governments. The earliest records of slavery in our world date as far back as 1754 B.C. In ancient Mesopotamia, the Code of Hammurabi declared it as an established institution.
Records have also shown that slavery existed in Arabia during the 7th century, as well as during the time periods of ancient Greece and ancient Egypt. The 1400s would mark the introduction of European slave trading and the rising captivity of black African slaves, which would eventually spread to America and many parts of the world. Those that were considered “free” were thus granted certain privileges at the expense of others.
Yet all men were born slaves. These were words spoken by Christ to the Pharisees in His day and it was not such an easy concept for them to grasp. In John 8, they reveal evidence of their misunderstanding: “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been in bondage to anyone,” they said. “How can you say, you will be made free?” (verse 33).
But Jesus responds by saying, “Most assuredly I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (verse 34). Here Christ speaks a compelling truth. He tells these crooked leaders, that although they were not physically bound up and chained like a slave, they were held captive by their master: Sin. This had manifested itself in their foolish subjection to their traditions and customs and lust for power. They allowed their masters of pride, anger, and bitterness to cripple them and prevent them from being able to do any greater good.
Sin is indeed a cruel master. While we were born subject to it we have willingly chosen it. Still, it is a master that metes out punishments, which are not so clearly evident. Its whips are silent but still agonizing; its scars are hidden at first glance. It taunts us and makes us believe that our current broken states are for our good and that we have no other option. What is even more unfortunate is what we like the Pharisees, do not recognize that we are slaves. We are not even capable of detecting our sly master and his death hold on us.
So how are we to be made free? John 8 tells us: “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Upon further study, we discover that Jesus is “…the way, the truth, and the life” (verse 32). It is this truth that He refers to when He speaks of freedom. Seeing ourselves in the light of Christ will help us be able to discern our sin problem and yearn for escape. Otherwise, we will continue to chain ourselves to our sin prison. The door is open, yet still, we remain. We love sin way too much, to part with it on our own terms.
But let’s be reminded that there is a way out: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (verse 36). Once we allow Christ into our lives, we are no longer slaves to this vindictive master. We become servants of Christ (John 12:26, 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, John 13:16, 1 Corinthians 7:22-23). Now, there is no longer any need for us to remain in bondage.
We don’t have to allow ourselves to be held dominion to sin, which promises no rewards but death (Romans 6:23, Proverbs 14:12, Ezekiel 18:20). In Galatians 5, we are admonished to: “stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (verse 1). Then Romans 6 elaborates further: “…our old man was crucified with Him that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (verse 6-7). Gone are the chains; Christ gives us the key. He lives in us, and we are now free.