In addition to forgiveness, a second thing happens to your relationship to sin when you’re converted: you’re redeemed.
The word has historical roots to the slave market. You’re a slave, and you get bought by a new master.
Now, none of us like the slavery concept—it’s an evil thing. (Hmm. Maybe a blog post on that one of these days … ) But the fact is that we were born slaves to sin, and our evil master was unloving, abusive, and vile. He didn’t put us up for sale—he had no intention of letting us go—but God, having paid the price for us with the infinitely valuable currency of the blood of his Son, purchased the right to us and torqued us out of the old master’s desperate but infinitely weaker grip.
Please note that God has not “set us free.” We’re free from the old master, of course, and “free from sin” (Rom 6.7)—but we have a new master, a good and loving one, one who welcomes us and lavishes grace on us and provides all of our needs abundantly and protects and directs and accompanies us, even stepping into the yoke with us (Mt 11.29) to ensure that his purposes for us are unabusively accomplished. Paul describes himself, delightedly, as “a bondslave of Jesus Christ” ( Rom 1.1; Gal 1.10; Php 1.1 ).
We have a new boss.
And so the old boss, the abusive one, can’t tell us what to do anymore. Oh, he tries to; he keeps calling, and giving us orders, and acting like nothing’s changed. But the fact is that things have changed, and he’s not our boss anymore; he has no authority, and we can slam the phone down on him when he calls. In fact, we don’t even have to answer. We can tell the old loser to get lost.
Over the years, I’ve had several bosses. I can honestly say that I’ve never had a bad one (well, except for the devil). Many of them became friends, and some were friends before they became my boss. Today I have ongoing relationships with several former bosses, and my current boss is actually someone whose boss I used to be. 🙂
In my former roles as an employee, when my boss called, I had to do what he said. He could summon me to his office, and I had to stop whatever I was working on and go see what he wanted. He could give me something new to do and thereby reshuffle my working priorities; I would set aside what I had been working on and turn to the new thing he’d given me to do.
He had that right. He was my boss. And I was OK with that; as I said, I’ve had a lifelong winning streak in bosses.
But now when a former boss wants something from me, he (or she) approaches me as a friend, which he is. He doesn’t give orders; he asks if I have a minute, and he says please and thank you. If he calls, and I’m busy, I can ask if I can call him back later, and he’ll say sure.
We’re friends, so we treat each other kindly and graciously, but he’s not my boss, so I don’t have to do what he says. I have a choice in the matter.
So why do we keep answering the phone when the devil calls?
He wasn’t a kind and good boss, and he isn’t our ongoing friend now. We shook the dust off our feet when we left his workplace, and we ain’t never goin’ back. Good riddance.
You know, you don’t have to do what he says anymore. You don’t have to sin. You can tell him to get lost.
Just do it.
The great hymn-writer Fannie Crosby put it in words now classic—
Redeemed! How I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!
Redeemed through his infinite mercy!
His child—and forever!—I am!
And yes, every one of those exclamation points is called for.