Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. This heinous crime has worldwide scope. Persons are kidnapped then kept or sold. They are typically coerced into illegal activities for the benefit of the kidnapper. All victims share the desire to escape their desperate situation. Many lose hope because sadly, so few are rescued. Slavery, with its lingering damage, does not only exist in the physical realm. It also remains a spiritual issue. Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness (Romans 6:16 NKJV)? Knowing that all have sinned (Romans 3:23) we must conclude that all are enslaved by it and desperately need to be redeemed. There is a way out of slavery to sin. There is always hope.
Israelites had long looked for the promised Messiah to redeem their nation. By the time Jesus arrived many were more concerned with their liberation from Roman rule than in liberation from sin. Those who did recognize Jesus as the Messiah were disappointed by his untimely death. Cleopas and his companion were privileged to walk with Jesus after His resurrection but did not recognize Him. They told Jesus, “we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.” (Luke 24:21 NKJV) God’s power is not limited by death. In fact, death served God’s purpose. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) (Galatians 3:13 NKJV). His life and death served “to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:5 NKJV)
Redemption is the action of regaining a possession in exchange for payment, or the clearing of a debt. In spiritual terms, redemption is the action of being saved from sin. Christians who most appreciate their redemption are those who fully recognize that they were the possession lost and their ransom was a price beyond their ability to pay. Peter reminds Jews who had been scattered by persecution that their obedience to Jesus gave them new life and hope. Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV). Brethren in Rome were also liberated by obedience. But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:17-18 NKJV). They had been “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)
Speaking of blessings in Christ, Paul told the Ephesian Christians, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). It is only by God’s grace that we are saved. Jesus once asked His disciples, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul (Matthew 16:26 NKJV)? Although powerless to pay, we do have obligations. For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14 NKJV).
Be prayerful for those who are impacted by slavery. Be grateful for your own redemption and share the message of grace that truly makes us free.