It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).
In the 1930’s, a group of Americans took on an extraordinary project. They armed themselves with audio-recording equipment, and with that equipment they made it their goal to capture the voices of men and women who had once lived under slavery.
We still have those recordings today. If you search around a bit online, you will find them. Some of the sound quality is so poor that it’s difficult to understand everything. Nevertheless, the impact of these recordings is powerful: Actual voices of men and women who know what it is to live under slavery.
In addition to the recordings, there are transcriptions and written notes. Meet a man by the name of Charlie Aarons. Charlie says he grew up with a father and mother, a sister and a brother. But when Charlie was about 10 years old, his master put him up for sale. Charlie says he remembers the extreme anxiety he felt as he stood on the block and various people bid for the right to take him home.
A Mr. Jason Harris purchased Charlie that day. And Charlie never saw his family again.
Slaves worked hard on the Harris plantation, Charlie says. They were in the fields from 6 in the morning until 6 at night. When asked if he had ever had a chance to escape, Charlie says that the dogs would capture you soon enough, and then you would get a beating. And when asked if his master ever taught him to read or write, Charlie smiles and says, “No, Madam, only to work.”
Two unspoken words permeate the voices of these ex-slaves. The words are, “Never again.”
Through faith in Jesus Christ, you and I are free. We are free from the guilt of sin. We are free from the power of sin. We are free from fear, free from isolation, free from the darkness and despair that sin can bring. But as you and I bask in God’s forgiveness, and the peace and joy we now have, there are also two unspoken words that live and thrive within our Christian faith. Those words are, “Never again.”
For the agents of the old slavery of sin are always on the prowl. The temptations to sin are always on the watch.
Thank God that for every time the claws of sin try to drag us into slavery, Jesus is here. He is here to call us to repentance. He is here to cleanse us in his blood. He is here to refresh us in the freedom he purchased for us at the cross.
Lord Jesus, in you I am free. By your Spirit, keep me free. Stay by my side. Amen.
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