The last two sermons (Giving Up Your Freedom Part I and Part II) have been about laying down our liberties for our brothers and sisters in Christ. The truth is this shouldn’t be hard if we consider that we should’ve already given up our freedom to Christ when we became Christians.
One of Paul’s most common titles for himself is “bondservant of Christ” (Rom 1:1, Eph 6:6, Phil 1:1). The Greek word for bondservant is doulos, which means “a slave.” This is the same title most of the other authors of the New Testament had for themselves: Timothy (Phil 1:1), James (Jam 1:1), Peter (2 Pet 1:1), and Jude (Jude 1:1), and it’s the way we should see ourselves: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that…you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
If you’re a Christian you’ve chosen to give up your freedom and life of sin and selfishness to live for Christ. Where you previously lived for yourself and your desires, now you live for Christ and His desires. Jesus redeemed us from sin so we might serve Him with our lives. He purchased us and therefore we belong to Him; we are His slaves. Romans 6 is about our freedom from sin, but it says we have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:18) and of God (Rom 6:22). Christ set us free, but to make us His slaves.
It’s ironic to talk about this only two weeks removed from the 4th of July where we celebrate our freedom and independence. In some ways this type of language is decidedly anti-American. As Americans we like to pride ourselves on our freedom and liberty. We don’t like to think of giving up our rights or being slaves to anyone. That kind of thinking can slip into our relationships with Christ, but no matter how contrary this might be to the American mindset, the reality is Christ has called us to be His slaves and live for Him. And many times the way we live out our slavery to Christ is by giving up freedoms for our brothers and sisters in Christ as discussed in the last two sermons.
The paradox in all of this is it’s only in surrendering to Christ that we can experience real freedom. Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (douleia: slavery). As long as we hold on to our lives and our agendas and our pursuits, we’ll remain slaves and never experience true freedom or peace.