I’ve never been a slave before. And I don’t plan to be one in the future. But I certainly don’t need to be one to understand what his life is like. It’s a miserable, torturous existence where you live for the pleasure of another. Whatever your master says, you do, and if you don’t, either you or your loved ones will be punished. Perhaps even killed. It’s a life no one would want.
We may be a more civilized society now, but I think many of us still live as slaves. We can be slaves to our relationships, slaves to our jobs, or slaves to our passions and desires. Sure, the relationship may be pure, the job may be fulfilling, or the desire a natural one, but when it controls us, that good thing has been warped into something harmful. And when we can’t let it go, it has become our master.
Thankfully, we Christians don’t have to be bound anymore to a master. We can break off the chains of guilt and shame that constrain us and pursue a life of joy and love that our Savior did. We no longer need to wallow in our selfishness and pity because He has cleansed us and renewed us. We have been redeemed.
Sometimes it’s easy for me to gloss over Christian terms like redemption, justification, and sanctification. I basically know what they mean, and I’ve heard them hundreds of times. But these are essential parts of the Christian life that I should ruminate on, not just gloss over. And redemption is one of those.
I picture a line of slaves mounted on a wooden platform. Their arms and legs are shackled, and they’re facing a hostile crowd of onlookers. The auctioneer starts with the first slave on the block, and the bidding begins. The first slave is nearly sold when suddenly, a man steps in front of the crowd and says, “I will buy them all.” Then he names an astronomical sum that no one else could ever afford. The auctioneer is baffled but agrees to the man’s request. The man then unlocks their chains and tells them, “You will no longer serve any other master. You are free to live as you wish.”
Perhaps that’s an imperfect picture of redemption, but I think it works. We are no longer slaves to sin, and we are no longer bound to our selfish desires. Jesus has paid the price and freed us to live for Him. So let’s not be bogged down by past failures and selfish choices we have made. Rather, let’s repent of those sins and turn back to God. Jesus has bought us back, and we are slaves no more. We have been redeemed.