Freedom and Slavery
By Alan Wright — September 11, 2019
It’s hard to be a sinner!
Those were the words of an Australian evangelist who once spoke at my church. He had me in stitches by the end of the message – and I’ll never forget his point.
In Christ, you are not longer a slave to sin. In fact, you are a slave to righteousness.
Paul put it this way: “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17–18, ESV)
“It’s hard to be a sinner,” the evangelist started his message with his fun, down-under accent. “You have to really work at it. It’s hard work to be a sinner.”
He started with drunkenness.
“In order to be a drunkard, you have to be willing to spend a lot of money on alcohol,” he preached. “You have to be willing to drink the stuff --, and truth be told, it doesn’t taste that good. But you have to drink a lot of it – even when you aren’t thirsty. And, once you’ve gotten drunk, you have to put up with nausea and, the next morning, a headache.”
“You have to work hard to be a sinner!” And he moved on to the next garden-variety sin.
His point was hilarious, but deep. Before Christ, Paul calls us “slaves to sin.” If you are “slave,” you are under a heavy burden. “Slaves” work hard for their masters. Our chronic, sinful behaviors aren’t “fun” – they’re laborious.
Covetousness makes you jealous and miserable. Lying makes your life extremely complicated. Lust ruins relationships. In other words, we tend to think of sin as “easy” and “fun,” but Paul (and the Australian evangelist) say the opposite: sin is the stuff of slavery.
So what has Christ done?
He’s come to make you a new kind of slave – a slave to righteousness. He’s come to make you want to do what is wonderful to do. He wants to invade your life so much that you can’t help but love and worship and serve. You’re going to serve a master, Paul says – so it might as well be the Master who loves you infinitely. And that’s the Gospel!