One-a-Day...for the Heart: Neither Bond nor Free
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28-29 KJV). Our Lord broke down tremendous barriers of hostility and division between people when He purchased our salvation through His death and resurrection.
He died for everyone and leveled the playing field of humanity by offering eternal salvation that was not dependent on social class, status, power, position, sex, or religion. Jews, Gentiles, bondservants, free men, males, and females are all accepted into the family of God to become one with Christ, their Redeemer. For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us (Ephesians 2:14 NLT).
A bondservant was owned by his master. Both in the Old and New Testaments, being the property of a master was supposed to be a good thing—actually beneficial to the bondservant if things were done according to God's laws. Not only were bondservants under the ownership of their masters, but they were also under their care. There were clearly defined boundaries--walls if you will--around bondservants, and only after six years of service could they be released from their master or contracted for another six years. They could escape poverty and abuse by being owned and by fulfilling their commitment to serve the master. If, after six years, a bondservant chose to be freed from his master, there was often no guarantee of safety or success.
Jesus has no walls of imprisonment. He neither forces us to love and serve Him nor frees us to live a life of sin without consequence. We are neither bondservants nor free to do as we please. If we insist on doing things our way, the result is often unpleasant. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death, Proverbs 14:12 (ESV) tells us. The MESSAGE translation says, There's a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again — it leads straight to hell. Yikes.
We're neither bond nor free, and that's an extraordinary place to be. When we come to Christ and accept His love and Lordship, it's thrilling to belong to Him and become a part of His family. Jesus Christ is the kindest, most benevolent master we could ever hope for. Imagine the shock and horror a bondservant felt if his owner turned out to be an evil, harsh taskmaster. Six years would seem an eternity in such a prison of slavery.
How opposite it is when Christ lovingly offers His salvation package of redemption, eternal life, provision, protection, healing, deliverance, and acceptance to anyone who desires it. Bond or free takes on new spiritual meaning. For he that is called in the Lord, being a bondman, is the freeman of the Lord. Likewise, he that is called, being free, is the bondman of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22). The MESSAGE translation reads, I'm simply trying to point out that under your new Master, you're going to experience a marvelous freedom you would never have dreamed of. On the other hand, if you were free when Christ called you, you'll experience a delightful "enslavement to God" you would never have dreamed of.
Six years of serving and loving Jesus is over in the blink of an eye, and we never even consider whether we should sign on for another six years with Him! When we surrender our lives to the Lord and believe He is the Son of God who came in the flesh to redeem us, He doesn't limit us to a six-year term of service and benefits. He offers us a contract that lasts for eternity.
What's more, we're free to be released from darkness in whatever way it tries to imprison or torment us. Sin, disease, addiction, hatred, demonic oppression, poverty, and all such entrapments of the devil can be broken by the power of Jesus and His finished work on the cross. We become free to explore the gifts, talents, and abilities He's given us so that we can help accomplish His work here.
Neither bond nor free. His ownership of love is not a dictatorship. The freedom we have in Him is not a freedom to sin; instead, it is the freedom to hear the Voice of our Master and obey Him. It's the freedom to spread the gospel of God's goodness and salvation to a dying world--even the dying world right in front of us like our unsaved family and friends, neighbors, the cashier at the dollar store, the dog groomer, and so on.
It is a high honor to belong to Jesus and serve Him. I joyfully declare that I choose to be a bondservant of His! No master could ever make me feel as validated and worthwhile as Christ. He didn't make me sign anything, but I owe Him everything I am and possess. There is an ever-growing desire to please Him, listening closely to His still, small voice that directs my steps.
Is the Master calling you? He loves you with an everlasting love. Say YES to this kind and loving Savior if you never have. Angels will rejoice as they hear you say, Speak Lord, for your servant hears (1 Samuel 3:9).
© 2023, Chris Werre