I recently read a story in my devotional that painted a fascinating picture of freedom. The story was about Abraham Lincoln visiting a slave auction.
Upon arriving, Lincoln saw a young black girl up on the block. Moved with compassion, he placed a bid and won her. After purchasing her, Lincoln told the young disbelieving girl that she was free.
In her surprise she said, “What does that mean?”
“It means you are free,” he replied.
“Does that mean,” she said, “I can say whatever I want to say?”
“Yes, my dear, you can say whatever you want to say.”
“Does that mean I can be whatever I want to be?”
“Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.”
“Does that mean I can go wherever I want to go?”
“Yes, you can go wherever you want to go.”
And the girl, with tears streaming down her face, said, “Then I will go with you.” Although this account is probably more fiction than fact, it reminds us that, just like this young girl, we too have been set free.
Paul, in his letter to the church in Ephesus, paints this very picture:
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God
Paul writes that when God reconciles us to Himself, He calls us out of death and darkness into life and light. He makes those who were once strangers and aliens sons and daughters.
He did not just enter our story, but He also grafted us into the grand story of redemption. This story is one of a loving God setting the captives free.
You and I were once far from God, dead in our sins and trespasses and without hope. But God, being rich in His mercy and love, reconciled us to Himself through Christ. We have been set free by the blood of the cross.
This means that you and I have been set free, and like this young slave girl, our response is to cling to the One who set us free – our response is to use our stories to paint a picture of freedom to those around us.