God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. (Colossians 2:14, CEV)

As anyone who has ever been in debt can tell you, owing someone money is the closest thing to slavery that the modern individual will ever experience. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” (ESV).

As mentioned in the graphic on this page, all of us were once debtors, or slaves, to sin. Jesus told His disciples, “anyone who sins is a slave of sin” (John 8:34, CEV). He knew we were incapable of paying that debt, so He offered himself in payment. Revelation 5:9 tells us that with His own death and the blood He shed, Jesus, “bought for God people from every tribe, language, nation, and race.”

Since we have been bought at such a high and precious price from our life of slavery, why in the world would we want to return to it?

Galatians 5:1 says, “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” (NIV). In that context, the Apostle Paul was talking about people being drawn into a kind of slavery called ‘legalism,’ where they are subjected to a list of dos and don’ts. So many people are caught in this prison—even in some churches! Jesus wants us to live according to His Spirit and not be caught up in that kind of slavery (Galatians 5:16-18).

In 1 Corinthians, Paul was talking to a different group about falling back into another kind of slavery called ‘license,’ where they ignore God’s rules and engage in sexual sin. Chapter 6, verse 20 says, “You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body” (GW). Chapter 7, verse 23, starts out the same, but urges people, “Don’t become anyones slaves.”

Once we were slaves to sin, hopelessly indebted, unable to rescue ourselves from its penalty, which is death. But Jesus came and took our sins on Himself. He died in our place. Now our debts are paid in full. We are free to live for Him, instead. The great thing is that, instead of being slaves to sin, now we are God’s children and heirs of all the good things He has for us (Galatians 4:3-7). All that is required for anyone to make that transference of ownership is to A) admit we are debtors—that we have failed to live by God’s standards and need to be saved, B) believe that Christ died and rose again to pay our debts, C) confess that belief, and ask God to forgive our sins and set us free from our debt.

This Christmas, I hope you will rejoice in that new freedom that is available through the Christ of Christmas. His gift to you is not only release from sin, but a new life as God’s own son or daughter. That’s the sort of gift that will keep on giving for years to come!

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