If you read the bible right through from beginning to end, one of the themes that quickly emerge is the theme of slavery and freedom. Adam is placed in a garden planted by God and told to tend it. This means growth, expansion.
Adam would go out into the wider world and replicate the beauty and goodness of what he is nurturing in the Garden. However, things take a detour and mankind rebels against His Maker, forfeits his life and is removed from the Garden.
Paul, a follower of Jesus and an Apostle, explains the fall out from this when he says that, “…we became slaves to the one we obey.” (Romans 6:16).
Adam and Eve, along with their descendants, obeyed the voice of the serpent and became slaves to sin.
This pattern of slavery is later played out in the tribes and kingdoms that multiply upon the earth, particularly in the lives of God’s chosen people, the Hebrews.
The arrival of Jesus, His death, resurrection and sinless life drastically altered the course of human slavery to sin. It provided a way of deliverance and freedom to live the life God intended for us.
As in all things, the results weren’t just spiritual. Real physical slavery was a consequence of our real enslavement to sin and its appetites.
Likewise, real deliverance through the physical death and resurrection of Jesus has meant a corresponding liberation from both spiritual and physical slavery in every culture that has embraced the Christian Gospel.
This is one of the reasons why the Christian church becomes concerned when a Government imposes a $135,000 fine on a bakery for declining to make a wedding cake.
It’s not the money that bothers us. Jesus has freed us from slavery to money. It’s not the accusations of hate that bother us either. Our freedom remains intact even then.
It’s the fact that forcing someone to make a cake is slavery. And forced labour of any kind on anyone is a sign of the forced labour that is coming upon the rest of us.
Once you establish a precedent for slavery in principle, you establish the means to enslave everyone. But first the root, then the fruit. The threat of forced labour is always preceded by our willingness to be enslaved by our greed, or our fear of man, or our lusts.
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey… (Romans 6:16)
The Bible, while condemning kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), racism, brutal treatment and deprivation nowhere condemns indentured servitude. Slavery of this kind is inescapable.
The question is always; what are we willing to chain ourselves to, or who are we trying to chain?
The Gospel is the place where slavery to our lusts and the enslavement of others to serve those lusts comes to an end and we are joined to the Household of God as sons. If we remove the Gospel that brought us this freedom, we should not be at all surprised if we find ourselves once more enslaved.
The difference is not between slave and not slave, but between slaves and sons.