No Longer Slaves

Slavery in the United States was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment on December 18, 1865. How many slaves were there on December 19, 1865? In reality, none, but many still lived like slaves. Some did so because they had never learned the truth that they were indeed free. Some didn’t believe the truth and continued to live as they had been taught. Others reasoned that they were still doing the same thing that slaves did, so they must still be slaves. They maintained their slave identity because of the things they did. Since they still felt like slaves, they didn’t want to be hypocrites and go against their feelings. After all, their feelings always told the truth and being free in Christ is just positional truth, not real truth!

One former slave, however, heard the good news, and received it with great joy. He checked out the validity of the amendment, and found out that the highest of all authorities originated the decree. Not only that, but it personally cost that authority a tremendous price, which He willingly paid. As a result, the slave’s life was transformed. He correctly reasoned that it would be hypocritical to believe his feelings and not the truth. Determined to live by what he knew to be true, his experiences began to change rather dramatically. He realized that his old taskmaster had no authority over him and did not need to be obeyed. He gladly served the one who set him free.

Christ did two things for those who were under the yoke of slavery. First, He redeemed those under the law. The Jews were enslaved to the whole Mosaic system. It was the bondage of legalism. Second, the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ secured for every believer their birthright as sons. “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit who calls out, ‘ABBA, father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Gal 4: 6,7). True believers may not feel free from sin and they may not feel like children of God, but in reality they are. The Holy Spirit resides in every believer’s heart ensuring our position in God’s family. The Spirit moves the believer to pray, “ABBA, Father.” The word, ABBA, is the Aramaic word for “Father.” It was used by small children who addressed their father. It would be similar to the English word, “Daddy.” It implies intimacy and trust as opposed to slavery and legalism.

Dr. Neil

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