Pondering Extras on Romans 8:1-4
“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2
Back in the nineteenth century our sixteenth president realized something radical must be done about slavery in our country. Unwilling to look the other way any longer, on September 22, 1862, he presented what came to be known as the Emancipation Proclamation, an official document condemning human slavery. Abraham Lincoln, realizing that slavery is completely against human dignity, officially abolished it from the United States on that day. Tragically, little changed in the daily life of our nation, even though the slaves were officially declared free. You know why; you’ve read the stories. The Civil War was still going on. The plantation owners never informed their slaves. The vast majority of the former slaves couldn’t read, so they had no idea what the news was carrying. There was no mass media then to announce those kinds of presidential pronouncements. And so for the longest time, slavery continued even though it had been officially brought to an end. The war ended in April 1865. Do you know when Lincoln’s declaration was officially enacted? When the people finally began to leave their enslaved lives and make their way toward freedom? December 18, 1865—more than three years after he first released his proclamation. Lincoln had been dead for months. The word traveled out of the streets of Washington and down into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, across the back roads of the Carolinas and into Georgia, then Alabama, then Mississippi, then Louisiana, then Texas, then Arkansas, announcing what had been true for more than a thousand days. Even then the word somehow either wasn’t believed or wasn’t acted upon. Those officially emancipated people, thinking slavery was the way they were condemned to exist, continued to live in bondage though they had been declared free men and women since the fall of 1862.
Now if you think that seems shocking, let me tell you something equally as shocking: believers in Jesus Christ still live enslaved to the domination of a power that no longer has power over them. What has freed us is the great Emancipator, Jesus Christ, whose death on the cross set us free from the law of sin and the fear of death. Like an Emancipation Proclamation, it was made known to the world at large: Satan is defeated! Sin is overwhelmed! Death no longer has its sting! (Charles Swindoll from Embraced By The Spirit)