There is a delightful story about Abraham Lincoln that took place long before he became the president of the United States. The story goes: As the young Lincoln, on a visit to New Orleans, passed a slave market. A young girl stood on the auction block with chains around her wrists and ankles, and the auctioneer was taking bids to sell her to the highest bidder. Lincoln began bidding, eventually made the highest bid and was awarded his property, the young girl.
So he took her by the hand and led her away from the crowd. Once they were alone, he let go of her hand and, looking down and smiling at her, said, “You’re free.”
She did not understand and asked, “What does that mean?” He explained that he was giving her her freedom.
She was surprised and asked, “Does this mean I can be what I want to be?” and Lincoln said, “Yes, you are free, and you can be what you want to be.”
She still did not understand, so she asked, “Does this mean I can go where I want to go?” Once again Lincoln said, “Yes, you are free, and you can go where you want to go.”
Then, for the first time, she smiled, and looking up at Lincoln she said, “Then I will go with you.”
How wise she was to choose to go with the one who had paid the price to buy her freedom. We also are slaves, born into slavery, for Jesus tell us, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin,” and Paul explains that “all have sinned” because we are the descendants of Adam.
Just like the young girl, we have no power to free ourselves. In her case, someone came and bought her with money. Peter tells us that the Lord Jesus has paid the price to free us, but Jesus paid a much higher price than the coins that Abraham Lincoln used. Peter tells us, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
We have been freed, delivered from our bondage to sin, because the Lord bought us with his blood.
Paul explains our change in status when he says, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.”
Paul realized that for him, “The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death” and he was thankful to God that, through Christ, he was released from the law of sin that enslaved him.
We need to follow the one who paid the price to free us from sin. How foolish that young girl would have been to try to strike out on her own without the help of the man who paid the price for her freedom. How foolish of us if we think that we can now go our own way.
We must always remember that we have changed masters. No longer now a slave to sin, we follow the Master who commanded us to follow him. Notice Jesus told his disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” When Jesus “saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: he said to him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.” In speaking to the multitude, Jesus said, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Moreover he taught, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Paul tells us, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” There is no better advice we could give than for us to choose to follow the one who bought us with his blood.
Jesus told us, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” We have been freed to follow Jesus, making it possible for us to receive the gift of eternal life through him, our Lord and Savior. Jesus said, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, him my Father will honor.”
Robert J. Lloyd