The world we live in with all the conveniences, comforts, and wealth is not often viewed with slavery, or sin in mind. As a matter of fact most of the human race would just as soon forget the idea of sin and chalk it up to being an antiquated idea. An ancient superstition or fear that was in the hearts and minds of people of times long ago. We are beyond that are we not? We are a civilized, educated, knowledgeable and technological society free of this “sin idea”.
We better back up and rethink this thought of sin. My reading this morning of April 17, 2012 was Acts 26-28 and Romans 1-7.
In the reading we find Paul on his way to Rome by ship and the lives of the people on board are in great jeopardy, fear, and loss of life is seemingly imminent. (I use the word “seemingly” because there is a divine factor involved.)
“Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, and said unto them, ‘Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.’ Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.” Acts 27:9-11 (KJV)
The godly wisdom of Paul told him, and I am pretty sure the Holy Spirit gave him enlightenment in the situation as well, that there was great harm awaiting the people and ship if they set sail at this time. The “Centurion” (Roman soldier) did not listen to Paul, but rather to the captain of the ship. That seems like the logical thing to do, but it was not the right thing to do.
The ship ends up in a storm. For fear of their lives cargo, much of the ships gear is cast overboard. They were in this storm for many days, going without food, and began losing hope of ever seeing land again (Acts 27:20). Paul has received a visit from “the angel of God” and gives them assurance,
“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, ‘Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, ‘Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. ‘Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.” Acts 27:21-26
It was just as Paul told them. They shipwrecked upon an island, are served by the people, and Paul preaches the gospel to them. Paul goes to Rome, and it is from Rome we receive the Roman Letter.
In Romans 1 Paul deals with the issue of the sins of the nations. In chapter two the sins of Israel, including the Jewish religious leaders. We are told that our sins have brought us short of the glory of God (3:23), and that is God’s intent for humanity, ie. to glorify Him.
The idea of slavery comes into this post by way of chapter 6 and verse 16 through 18,
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:16-18
Some people do not like to think about, and there may be some who honestly do not even know it; but there is slavery in our technological society. There is still evil in this world. There is a slavery where women, children and some men are kidnapped, and taken and sold for outrageous prices (Of course selling people at any price is outrageous). These are often sold as sex slaves, placed on streets in foreign cities and in the United States. However, there is a slavery which we all need to deal with on a personal basis; and that is slavery to sin.
Apart from Jesus Christ there is no real freedom. If sin has dominion of your life you are in bondage. People say things like, “Religion is bondage” or something like that and try to present the picture that freedom is “Doing as one pleases with their lives”. One’s who are in Christ Jesus are truly free to do as they desire, because it is God who gives us our desires when we are walking with Him (Psalm 37:4).
Paul says at the end of chapter 7,
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:24-25
Turn to Jesus Christ. The only source of peace, joy, freedom and forgiveness.
-Tim A. Blankenship