For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave.1 Corinthians 7:22(NASB)
No matter what our birth, heritage, vocational standing, financial situation, or political leanings, the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ is the thing that sets men free. The man or woman who is called of the Lord to be holy, by faith... is set free from all the restrictions, constraints, and controls that influence every part of our commonplace lives.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul was writing to a culture where slavery was a significant part of everyday life. There were various social, economic, national, cultural, or personal reasons why men or women became slaves. Some were cruelly coerced into slavery, some chose slavery due to life's bitter circumstances, and some entered more willingly. But no matter the reason for a man's enslavement... when a slave was called by the Lord and trusted in Christ's sacrificial death and glorious resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, that man or woman became the Lord's freedman. Though enslaved in the natural, that man was spiritually free. That man was gloriously loosed from slavery to sin.
Although Christian slaves may have remained under the authority of their human masters, they were never to forget that in Christ they had gained spiritual liberty and eternal freedom... for Christ gave Himself for us to set us free from every wrong. Christ died on the Cross at Calvary to cleanse us from all our sin so that our hearts may be strong and free from all sin before our God and Father, so that we could be His special people for His praise and glory.
There were also times when slaves were awarded their freedom and they were called 'freedmen' - and again Paul wanted all such people who had been freed from their slavery, to consider the enormous debt they owed to Christ Who loved them so much that He gave His life as the ransom price for their eternal freedom. He wanted them, and us, to remember that we have been set free from all the distresses that we experienced as the result of sin - freedom from death, freedom from the bondage, freedom from fear, freedom from the snares of the devil.
Paul wanted to get across to his readers the unbelievable freedom that we have in Christ, no matter what difficult circumstance we are in. But he also wanted to detail the incredible debt we owe to the One Who hung on the Cross for the sin of the world... so that by faith in His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, we might have life - and have it more abundantly.
Paul used a picture of slaves and freedmen to draw our attention to the way we should live our lives in the place that God has seen fit to put us - no matter how difficult the circumstances may be in which we find ourselves. He used the images of freedmen and slaves to demonstrate that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death.
Paul used this passage to remind us that a slave who is called to be in Christ by faith is the freedman of the Lord... while the man that is free must consider himself to be the slave of Christ - for each one of us were bought and paid-for at Calvary and the precious, purchase price was the shed blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ - Who loved us and gave Himself for us.
May we, who have been freed from the slave-market of sin and Satan, be careful to honour the Lord who bought us with His own blood... and may we follow the calling to which we have been called and carry out the work that God has assigned to us.
Heavenly Father, thank You that in Christ I have been set free from the bondage of sin and death and that in Christ I have been made free indeed. Today, I humbly offer myself to You as Your bond-slave, to will and to do only those things that You would have me do, for I have been bought with a price - the precious blood of Jesus Christ my God and my Saviour, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.
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