We can feel caught in many ways; in a boring conversation, in a job we dislike, or in an uncomfortable situation. There are many other more serious forms of captivity too. Some people are stuck in poverty. In some countries people are in prison because of their beliefs. Today there are estimated to be up to 70 million slaves in the world. This is known as ‘Modern Slavery’.
The Bible speaks a lot about captivity and freedom, and Jesus used these words, quoted from Isaiah, to describe his mission:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
The Apostle Paul describes the natural state of men and women as being in slavery to sin (doing wrong). We all disobey God to a lesser or greater extent, and so we all die. This would be terrible news if there was no way out. Thankfully, through the work of Jesus Christ, we can be freed from this slavery and become workers for God.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This offer of freedom came at a price. To break the cycle of sin and death required a perfect sacrifice. Jesus is the only person who has ever managed to live without sinning, and so he did not deserve to die. Jesus showed wonderful love for us and obedience to his Father in submitting to the ordeal.
This is what lies behind those famous words:
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Jesus was very clear in his teaching. To be saved, we must believe and be baptised; there is no other way.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
So we have a choice, either to be a slave to sin or to take the way out that God has provided. If we choose to believe and be baptised we begin a new life serving a loving, kind and forgiving God who wants us to be in His Kingdom.