Becoming A Slave

During my first trip to Ghana, West Africa in the summer of 2007, I had the opportunity to visit Elmina Castle. It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. Slaves were held captive in the castle before exiting through the castle’s infamous “Door of No Return” to be transported and resold in newly colonized Brazil and other Portuguese colonies.

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During the tour of the castle, our tour guide mentioned in passing the three ways a person became a slave:

  1. Crimes committed
  2. Debt that could not be paid
  3. Born into it

We fit all three conditions of slavery to sin.

  1. We have committed crimes. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
  2. We all have a debt that we cannot pay. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
  3. We were all born into sin. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).

We are all slaves to sin and unrighteousness. But this was not God’s plan for us. He desires for us to enjoy the pleasure of freedom. He will set us free by taking us captive in His mercy.

We have committed crimes. But He cleared our record.

“Blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us… and took it our of the way, nailing it to His cross” (Col. 2:14).

We all have a debt that we cannot pay. But He paid it for us.

“Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

We were all born into sin. But we can be born again.

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Once I was “free” in shackles of sin:
Free to be tempted, bound to give in;
Free to be captive to any desire;
Free to eternally burn in hell fire.
But Jesus bought me, now I’m a “slave,”
Bound by commands, free to obey;
Captive by beauty, free to adore,
Sentenced to sit at His feet evermore!
-Unknown 

Isn’t Grace Amazing?

I often hear sentiments from Christians expressing their thankfulness that they do not live under the law but under grace. Such sentiments are often accompanied by the false assumption that God’s expectations of man are more lenient under grace than they were under the rigid rule of the law. However, the opposite is true. His expectations are higher for those of us who live in the age of grace.

In Matthew 5, Jesus contrasts life under the law to life under grace with six examples. “You have heard it said… But I say to you…” He quotes the requirements of the law and then introduces His way under grace. The former concerns restraint while the later a transformation.

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not murder.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment.”

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“You have heard it said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a bill of divorcement.’ But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife except for fornication, causes her to commit adultery.”

I think you get the idea.

Grace doesn’t require less from us than the law. Grace empowers us to overcome. Grace is not an excuse to sin. Grace is the gift of God to mankind that we may conquer sin through the power of His Spirit.

Isn’t grace amazing?

One Generation From Extinction

Former President Ronald Reagan on Freedom:  “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

There is quite a bit packed into those three sentences!  Each generation enjoys the fruits of the generation preceding them, yet each generation must determine the value of that fruit and the cost of its seed if it is to last.  This is not just true of freedom, it is also true of the Truth.

Photo by psychbird

Just like freedom, Truth is always one generation from extinction!  (Caveat: Truth will prevail and God will always have a Church, I am applying this to a particular group whether that be church, family, etc.) 

There were 10 generation from Adam to Noah (Genesis 5).  However, there was only 1 living generation separating the two!  Noah’s father, Lamech, would have been 58 when Adam died.  It is very likely that Noah’s father spent time with the man who walked in the garden with God.  Afterall, Adam was his Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather.  Yet one (living) generation later, Noah is the only man found righteous in God’s eyes!

Judges 2:7,10  “And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel… and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”

This is another startling example!  The generation of elders had witnessed all the miracles.  They were there when God made passage through the Jordan River.  They were there when the Jericho walls came crashing down.  They were there when Joshua prayed and the sun stood still.  But the generation after them did not personally know of these great miracles, let alone the God who did them.

We must diligently pass this Truth on to the next generation! (Deut. 6)

Lesson From A Slave Castle

As you may already know, I had the opportunity to go to Ghana, West Africa on a missions trip a few years ago.  I will be going back very soon.  As the date gets closer, I find myself doing a lot of reminiscing about my previous visit.

During my last trip to Ghana, I had the opportunity to visit Elmina Slave Castle.  This castle, erected in 1482, became one of the most important stops on the route to the Atlantic Slave Trade.  I could not begin to describe to you the atrocities that occurred in this building as described to us by our tour guide.  I would, however, like to share this quick lesson with you.

Taken by Aluka Digital Library

Our guide told us there were three reasons why someone would become a slave.

1. Crimes you committed.

2.  Debt that you could not pay.

3.  You were born into it.

We fit all three conditions of slavery to sin.

  1. We have committed crimes.  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
  2. We all have a debt that we cannot pay.  “…without the shedding of blood, there can be no sacrifice for sin.”  Hebrews 3:23
  3. We were all born into sin.  “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5

I am thankful that we have an advocate!

  1. I have committed crimes.  BUT! Blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us… and took it our of the way, nailing it to His cross.” Col. 2:14
  2. I had a debt that I could not pay.  BUT!  “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
  3. I was born into sin.  BUT!  I have been “born again of water and of Spirit.” John 3:5

No more shackles, no more chains….