Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Price of Our Freedom

Apostle Paul talks about the Roman practice where the owner could free his slave by paying the full price of him to the society in his letter to Corinthians.

The former slave could now leave to live his life the way he wanted or stay serving his former owner as a free man.

In Paul’s time the Roman society was roughly divided in two large groups: free citizens and slaves.

The free citizens led and directed the society, made the decision and money and had the fun in life. 
The slaves were bought from markets for different uses: to the fields, as domestic workers, teachers or even as doctors.

They had neither rights nor any ways to influence their lives or the society in general.

Slaves were marked with a brand and worked until they got seriously ill or died.
If a slave had children, they also were slaves and considered as property of their parents owners.
23 You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears. 1 Corinthians 7:23 Living Bible (TLB)
You could always recognize a run-away slave from their brand.

And just any free man that found them could return them to their owner or kill them.

A freed slave was given a document to prove their freedom.

In it was written the price their owner paid to free them.

And this is the practice that Paul talks about in his letter to Corinthians.

The group of people in Corinth to whom Paul was writing to was mixed.

Some of them were free men and some of them were former soldiers.

But the biggest part of the group was slaves, freed slaves or former prostitutes who had lived as slaves in the temples.

To them the text that the apostle had written was clearer than the water.

Jesus paid the price

Paul doesn’t talk just about a societal fact but he uses this situation that everyone knows to clarify a spiritual fact.

Every person in their lives has reached a point where they have become slaves to the sin.

We have all been branded by the sin.

The price of our freedom has become astronomical.

Jesus describes this sum of money in his parable of two men in Matthew 18:23-27.

One of whom was forgiven by the king from their debt of 10 000 talents.

That sum meant in dinars, the common currency of their time, 10 000 times the day pay of 6 000 days.

In today’s money it would be more than 7 000 000 000 dollars.

And the man was just asking for a little more time to pay his debt.

He did not understand at all how impossible it would be for him to pay his debt back.
23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’
Matthew 18:23-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

Someone has to pay the debt

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us how important it is that our debt is forgiven by our Heavenly Father.

The debt, the word that Matthew uses in original text, can be as well translated as sin, as Lucas does in his evangelism.

Both of them wanted us to understand that in front of God we are broken.

Without His mercy we have nothing and we are helpless.

Someone has to pay the debt.

Because it is impossible for the slave, even to the slave of sin, in Heaven it was planned how to free the humanity from their debt.

In John 3:16-17 we can read how this was done.

In the original text the amount of God’s love is not measured but the manner how the debt was paid.

And this is the fact that Paul talks about in his letter to Corinthians.

Faith in Jesus, trust in his death on the cross and hope of his resurrection proclaim us the love and the enormous price that has been paid for us.
16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
John 3:16-17 Living Bible (TLB)

Stay in the House of the Savior

The last part of the verse exhorts us to live accordingly to our new freedom.

We humans have the tendency of tying ourselves with new bonds.

Some of the freed slaves in Paul’s time would get into debt bondage and sell themselves as slaves again.

I don’t think that we Christians of today have it any easier.

It is common to wrap us in the phantoms of past, everyday troubles, hidden sins or discernible errors.

Why we tend to forget the price that has been paid for us?

Even minimize it?

To be slaves to people can be also following traditions, beliefs and customs.

It can be following blindly charismatic leaders.

15 It doesn’t make any difference now whether we have been circumcised or not; what counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people.
Galatians 6:15 Living Bible (TLB)
We can see examples of this both in general history as in the history of the Christianity.

There has always been people who have trusted their leaders to help them to be purer or godlier than reading bible or listening to their own conscience can make them.

In his letter to Galatians Paul is fighting against these same problems.

In that time people believed that circumcision and meticulousness in following the law would lead them to be better Christians and more pious people.

Today the people try to find profound experiences in eastern philosophy, metaphysics, theology of prosperousness, the doctrine of sinlessness, yoga, nature-based religions and other new-age beliefs.

At the same time, knowingly or without knowing it, we bond ourselves again.

Both spiritually but many times economically too.

Paul tells the new Christians to STAY in House of the Savior.

Nowhere else will we be treated as well as there.


  1. The flowers and plants you chose for the post are gorgeous. And I thank Jesus for sacrificing himself for us.

  2. Pretty pictures of flowers. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. Beautiful photographs, Thought provoking post.

  4. I really enjoyed the pictures, the followers look absolutely stunning!

  5. Your photos are gorgeous, nicely done post here!

  6. Beautiful photographs and well thought out and written post.

  7. Wow, this was another amazing post. You really got me to thinking. And of course, as always, I love your pictures.

  8. This is the second time in a very short time frame that I've heard the proper definition/translation of debt. I always thought it meant financial debt. Knowing the proper translation gives all new meaning to some things I thought I knew!

    1. I agree, it is so important to know about the society and cultural background also. Not to change the word but to better understand it.

  9. Thank you for sharing this. You always have well thought out posts with great explanations!

  10. photos are beautiful. i think people take freedom for granted, those who never had to worry about. thanks as always for your posts

  11. I like how you translated the debt to today's terms!

  12. What a great post. And very lovely photos. Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. It is good to be reminded of our freedom in Christ, even when we sin.
    When we sin, we want to run away and hide like Adam and Eve and such is how the prison begins again. But if we only see how the Lord wants us to come and talk with him.
    He surely loves us.
    Thank God for him.
    A beautiful share. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Colette. And it is so true what you say. We forget how much God loves us and how He only wants what is best for us. But is is so easy to listen to lies and get attached to things that are only hurting us and putting us down.

  14. I love the photographs that you've included in this post. They fit it perfectly!

  15. Love the part about being slave to our sin. So many times you get yourself caught up in something you know is wrong and getting out is the hardest thing. A good reminder that it is our responsibility to try to get out and that God will forgive us.

    1. That is the great mystery, Mary, we can't get out on our own but God can't release us from the sin either, if we don't want it first. At the same time, how can we even want it, if He doesn't help us to will it first.

  16. There are no real words that can express that freedom and what it truly means. I am in AWE of what God has done so that we may have that freedom!

    1. It is amazing that He could have loved us so much!

  17. You always have the most beautiful pictures of nature. I think nature alone is proof of God's existence!

  18. Very thought provoking post. Beautiful photos too. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Beautiful pictures. I love the red plants. They really stand out!