Appreciate your spiritual freedom

By Tim Bartee - Your pastor speaks

This weekend we will celebrate our nation’s anniversary of signing the Declaration of Independence. It’s my favorite holiday of the year simply because it’s the day on which I was born, the 4th of July. My parents had me convinced that the fireworks was a celebration of my birth.

This document, The Declaration of Independence, represents the freedoms that we have in our country. I am dismayed over the number of people who disrespect and demean our country and our freedom. It’s obvious by the multitude of people who are entering our country, both illegally and legally, that they recognize that our freedom is a gift from God and they long to be able to enjoy it also.

I greatly appreciate my freedom as a citizen of the USA, yet even greater than that, I appreciate my spiritual freedom that is found in Christ.

Psalm 103 tells us to bless the Lord and to not forget his benefits. One of the five benefits that are listed is that God has “redeemed our life from destruction.” The word redeemed means to regain possession of something in exchange for payment or to buy back.

There are four Greek words that are used for the word “redemption” in the New Testament.

The first is the word, Agorazo, which simply means, the market place for slaves.This word is found in Rev 5:9, (speaking of Christ) “you have redeemed us to God by thy blood.” This verse is telling us that Jesus entered the market place for slaves for the purpose of redeeming us at the price of His blood.

It’s difficult to talk about slavery because it’s such an atrocity, not only in our own country’s past but in the present day we have the problem of human trafficking, another form of slavery.

Let me describe the slave market during the Biblical times. Often the purchaser treated the slave like an animal, they would look into their mouth to check their teeth. They would hit and slap them to check their strength and their temperament, as well as curse them and mock them. Sometimes they would actually whip them to test their endurance and to see how they responded as they shamed them.

Why did The Holy Spirit use that word redeem in reference to Jesus? Because Jesus left heaven and entered this marketplace for slaves and according to Paul in Philippians 2, he took upon him the form of a servant, which means slave. Jesus was beaten, mocked, scourged and He was shamed. He became a slave to redeem us, he became a slave so that we could know true freedom.

The second word is Exagorazo, which means “out of the market place for slaves.’ It’s the same word with a prefix added “ex’ which means “out of” for example we have the word exit.

This word is found in Galatians 3:13, “He (Jesus) has redeemed us from the curse of the law .”

Not only did Jesus become a slave, but he bought and brought us out of the slave market. Romans 6 says we were sold to sin, we were a slave to sin. All of us have been in bondage to sin in an area of our lives. Jesus came to redeem us out of the slave market.

An example of this word is found in the Old Testament book of Hosea. This prophet was told by God to marry a prostitute, and I’m sure he struggled with it. They had three children together and then she went back into her former life. Eventually, she found herself back on the auction block at the slave market. No one would be bid for her, but God sent Hosea to go and to purchase or redeem his own wife.

Why would Hosea have to go through this? Because God wanted him as a prophet to go tell His people that even if they go back to their false gods, committing spiritual adultery, He still loves them and will redeem them.

The third word is Lutrosis, which means “to pay the full payment for a slave.” This word is found in Hebrews 9:12. Satan knew our value to God and His love for us.

Maybe there was a conversation between God and Satan like we see in Job 1. It might have went like this as you and I were standing on the slave auction block. God came and said “I want them,” and pointed to us. Satan says, “I will set them free but the price you will be giving me is the life of your son, Jesus, and when you do, I will take your son and mock him, and beat him, and nail him to a cross, till he dies, do you still want to redeem them?” God said, “Yes!”

The highest price that has ever been paid for anything, anywhere, at any time, was paid for your freedom, God paid the full price. It was paid for you, that you might be redeemed.

The final word is also connected to the previous word, Apolutrosis, which means “to pay the full payment of a slave’s freedom.”

In this case one is not buying a person for them to be a slave for themselves, they are buying a person to give to set them free. This word is found in Ephesians 1:7, ‘ In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

His blood was the full payment to buy us back and to return us to our original state as sons not servants. Galatians 4:7 says “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Jesus entered the market place for slaves, this world, and he became a slave that we could be redeemed out of the slave market. He paid the full price for us, He didn’t just buy us, but he returned us to our original state which is to be sons and daughters of the most-high God. God did not create us to be slaves, He created us to be sons who experience His freedom.

By Tim Bartee

Your pastor speaks

The writer is the pastor of Northtowne Church of God in Sidney.

The writer is the pastor of Northtowne Church of God in Sidney.