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Monday, January 31, 2011

At What Price, Freedom?

Artist's depiction of Abraham Lincoln witnessing a slave auction.
- Courtesy of Time-Life
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word,
you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been
in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you,
whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
And a slave does not abide in the house forever,
but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free,
you shall be free indeed.” – John 8:31-36

There is a tale told of Abraham Lincoln about 30 years before he was elected president that says he saw a slave girl on the auction block one day and proceeded to bid on her purchase. He would continually raise the bid one dollar above the previous bidder until he finally won the auction and purchased the girl. She asked him what he was going to do with her, and he replied that he was setting her free. She was puzzled and asked what he meant. He then said that it meant she could go anywhere she wanted to because she was a free person. She replied that she would go with him, then, because she wanted to stay with the one who purchased her freedom. Though this is a tale that has become part of American folklore, along the lines of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, isn’t it an amazing picture of what Christ has done for us?

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23

The bible tells us that all of us have sinned, every single one of us without exception. Jesus told us that “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin,” therefore we are all slaves in bondage to sin. Jesus, however, bought us out of that slavery. The price He paid was Himself, spilling His own precious blood in a torturous death, culminating with His voluntary crucifixion on the cross, to pay our death penalty in our place. But on the third day, as He said He would, HALLELUJAH he arose, conquering death to set us free. All He wants is that we fully trust Him, that He did everything necessary to free us from sin and death and reconcile us back to the Father.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” – John 15:13-14

The slave girl in the story had a choice; go about life on her own, probably ending up being a slave again anyway, or voluntarily follow the one who bought her to set her free. Abraham Lincoln was known as one with a great love for humanity, and he eventually did set the slaves free with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Jesus, fully man, and fully God, has a great love for humanity as well, as summed up John 3:16. He demonstrated how great His love is for us by paying the ultimate price to buy our freedom. He laid down His life for His friends, who He says are those who do what He commands. Should we not, then, choose to follow Him and do as He commands us to do? Can we really call ourselves a friend of God if we don’t? Choose this day which path you will follow, the wide path of bondage to sin and death, or the narrow path of freedom from sin and everlasting life; a slave to sin, or a servant for Christ.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate
and broad is the way that leads to destruction,
and there are many who go in by it.
Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way
which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
– Matthew 7:13-14
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