Imagine what it would have been like to be a slave. Whether your chains were visible or not, there would be little or no freedom for you. Your time and energy would be spent in doing the things that your master directed you to do. Your owner would have control of where you lived and with whom you lived. Any freedom to speak up, to explain your intentions or desires, or to communicate in meaningful ways would depend solely on the temperament and discretion of those who were in charge of your life. The one thing that would have been totally forbidden was to attempt to run away or to escape. The consequences would have been far too great to risk.
It is fascinating to consider this vivid picture when you read what Paul says about what life is like without Jesus, isn’t it? He uses the term “slaves to sin” in order to help us grasp the hopelessness and helplessness of our condition. On our own we could not escape what owned us and the choices that we made because of our dire situation. But God in His mercy didn’t leave us without a plan of escape, a way to experience new life and freedom. Through faith that old master, called sin, no longer has the final say, but “just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 5: 4)
Don’t these truths make you want to join in and sing with great enthusiasm the praise song, “No Longer Slaves”? (Bethel Music)