“For freedom Christ has set us free.”
If you have read the novel or seen the movie’ Ben Hur’, you will remember the insight it gave you into the life of a galley slave, chained to his oar, year after year. If the ship should sink, he would drown like a rat with no way of escape. Freedom is what the slave longed for. Death in bondage is what usually came.
In the case of Ben Hur, the events that freed him from a pitiless life did not result in true freedom, not right away. He went on to be adopted by the Roman admiral whose life he saved. Power and wealth now accompanied his freedom from the galleys. But he was not free. His life was consumed by hatred of the man who had unjustly condemned him to the galleys, and his thirst for vengeance. He remained bound to sin.
Freedom is not being able to do what you want, having independent wealth, or simply following your appetites and desires. To be truly free is to be set free from our bondage to sin. Ben Hur did not know what freedom was until the grace of God in Christ took hold of him. Author Lew Wallace was making this seminal point in his great novel.
In the novel, which the movie does not portray, Ben Hur goes on to become a member of the Christian community and eventually assists in bringing support to the persecuted Christians in Rome. He and some fellow-Christians form an underground church in the catacombs outside the city where they gather to celebrate, in the midst of death, the life and freedom that is theirs in Christ.
This is how the Christian, born a slave to sin, regards the Gospel of Christ. In Jesus Christ we find and celebrate our true freedom from sin’s captivity unto death and our new life as children of God even unto eternal life.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”