One of the myths of modern America is that slavery doesn’t exist today. Oh, we admit that it may happen in other cultures because they’re a bit backwards, but it doesn’t happen here. Still here in America we have slaves who are slaves for work and we have those who have been enslaved for the sex trade. Yes, it happens. One of the things that people have done in other parts of the world is seek to buy slaves from the slave traders so that they can reunite them with their families. Then, they realized a problem they had created: it was more lucrative for slave traders to sell them to those who would free them. This made slave traders more likely to take more slaves to get more money. It became a vicious circle that caused slavery to increase. Thus many people stopped redeeming slaves. (For example: http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/99jul/9907sudanslaves2.htm)
We often don’t notice slavery here because it is hidden so well. That being said there is a deeper, more insidious form of slavery that affects all people: slavery to sin. Lest you think I’m trivializing the slave trade that exists in the world, it would not exist except for the sin that we all have. It seems to be easier to make a dent in the slave trade than it is to eradicate our slavery to sin. Why would I say that? If we were to abolish the slave trade completely, as we once thought we had, it would grow up again in a different fashion because of the sin in the hearts of men. We need redemption from slavery to sin – but that isn’t easy. The Psalmist thought it impossible. No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—so that they should live on forever and not see decay. (Psalm 49:7-9)
Redemption from sin is an impossible task for human beings to perform. In truth, no payment we could come up with would ever be enough – and any money we could scrape together would probably have some element of sinfulness attached to the method of acquiring it. Enter God. When we were lost in our sin; when we were dead in our sin; God loved us enough to send redemption and pay the price for our redemption. It was a price with a cost so high that only God could pay, and He paid with His life. Jesus died on the cross to redeem us from our lives of slavery to sin. We have been given the gift of eternal life. Eternal life touches two areas of life: quality and quantity. We have been given a life worth living that will go on forever. This is why we share with a world still wrapped up in the slavery of sin. This is the cure for what ails the world. Better laws make “better” sinners. Laws will not change the human heart. Only Jesus can change our hearts.
Think about any man-created evil in this world. How do we stop that evil? You can’t stop evil by writing a new law. People who are already doing wrong or breaking laws aren’t going to change because there’s a new law. They will find a different way to get around that law so that they can continue their evil. Evil won’t stop unless there is a heart change: a spiritual heart transplant if you will. If you really want to make this world a better place for all of its inhabitants there is only one way to do that. Share the grace and mercy of God with people who are still enslaved by their sin. Live as an example of a life freed from sin by the grace of God. Break the chains of sin in yourself and help others to do so as well.
Lord, we thought we had gotten rid of slavery here years ago and it’s staggering to think that people would still hold others in slavery for financial gain. We pray for You to release those who are captive. We pray that You will change the hearts of those who are in slave to sin – especially those who are slavers. Bring Your freedom to a world caught in the slavery of sin.