A couple of years ago, on a flight to Italy, I watched the powerful movie entitled 12 Years A Slave which was an adaptation of a slave memoir that was written during the dark days of American slavery. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you can imagine the brutality involved with slavery that took place during one of America’s darker moments in history.
As I was watching the movie, I couldn’t help but feel the heavy burden and the hopelessness of the common American slave under the rule of such brutal masters. There was no way out. Unless someone came along and was willing to pay the heavy price to purchase you out of that slavery, you were destined to die a slave.
The visual image of slavery portrayed by this particular movie helps us understand the imagery often used by the apostle Paul when he refers to our former life of sin as a life of slavery.
We are born into slavery. Slavery to Sin.
Sin is the brutal slave master that beats us down with it heavy burdens and offers us nothing of eternal value in return except destruction and certain death. There is no escape and no way out. Our condition is entirely hopeless and unless someone outside of ourselves changes the system or our situation, eternal bondage is our destiny.
But then one day, as you’re out in the field on the brink of exhaustion and at the end of yourself, a Man shows up. He too is a Master who purchases people, but there’s something different about Him. You see Him from across the field, and you feel it below the depths of your damaged heart. It’s a feeling that died a long time ago, but one that seems to have resurrected from death itself.
Hope begins to rise.
After dealing with your master, Sin, the Man comes over to you and puts His arm over your slumping shoulders and in a gentle tone that seems unlike anything you’ve ever heard before softly says,
“Come with Me. You will work here no longer. I have paid the price to purchase you from Sin.”
Hope begins to walk.
So you leave with this new Master, and on the way, you begin to wonder what service to Him is going to require of you. You feel indebted to this Man so you want to make sure that you serve Him well. Because after all, experience tells you to beware of failing your Master.
However, upon arriving at the Master’s house, He does something you never saw coming. Even in your wildest dreams, you would have never imagined it. He looks at you and smiles a sweet smile like you’ve never seen before, and He does the unthinkable.
He invites you inside His house. You expected that you would now work for this Man, and yet He is welcoming you into His home.
And as if that wasn’t enough to excite your expectations of this new life with this new Master, He then proceeds to take you into a room. A room that seems to have been waiting just for you. A room that is just like His Son’s room upstairs. A room that is in fact… Yours!
Again, in the most gentle voice you’ve ever heard, the Master puts His arm around your surprised shoulders and says,
“Relax and rest my son. You are no slave here in My house. You are family. What’s Mine is yours. Welcome to your new home.”
Hope has found its home.
And you can hardly take it all in. Deep emotions, the purest of emotions, Love, Joy, and Peace have resurrected from the dead and even now, you struggle to believe all this can be true. You were going about your everyday life enslaved to the brutality of Sin and out of nowhere and for no apparent reason this Man comes along and purchases your freedom and takes you in as one of His own children. You did nothing to earn this. Your elevated status is nothing more than the result of this good Master’s free gift of grace and mercy. A mercy shown to whomever He pleases.
You just happen to be one of the ones He’s chosen.
This is a picture of the gospel. This is a portrait of amazing grace.
Imagine being the purchased slave now considered an adopted son. Imagine the wonder and excitement you’d feel waking up that first morning in your new home. Imagine the heart you would have for your new Master who has insisted that you refer to Him as Father. Obedience is no longer viewed through the lens of oppression but now through the lens of opportunity.
Life is going to be dramatically but delightfully different. You will never be a slave again. You have become an heir to the Father’s eternal estate.
Therefore, our failure to possess an obedience to our Father that freely flows from a radically changed heart is simply a failure to grasp who He is and what He has done for us.
We must not forget that we are not our own. The Son became a slave so that we might become sons.
True freedom is found in this life altering truth. We have been purchased.