When we understand redemption as freedom from a form of enslavement that required external assistance, we may conclude that sinful humanity is bound by a power or influence stronger than itself.
The question that needs to be answered is, by what power or agency has sinful humanity been so bound? Study Romans 6:12-23. Notice that in verses 18, 20, and 22, Paul speaks about freedom. What is the context of this freedom? What is Paul talking about here? Think about what Paul says in the above verses along with what he says in Romans 6:1-11. Paul talks about what happens in Christian baptism. Here he sets forth some things that were to have died with Christ in baptism. Having spelled these out, Paul challenges the Christian, who has been united with Christ, to manifest the lordship of Christ, who has freed him/her from the power of sin. The bottom line here is that, according to Paul, no matter how corrupted our nature has been by sin, through Christ we can be free from its enslaving power. Who hasn’t seen just how devastating this kind of slavery can be? Who hasn’t seen lives ruined by sin? Who hasn’t struggled with the power of sin in their own lives? It is, by far, the greatest foe that we as human beings will ever face. What makes it so bad is that it’s a slavery not imposed solely from without; rather, it’s one that comes from within us. How are we freed from a slavery, a bondage, that originates in us, even in our very nature? The answer, as we’ve seen in the above verses, comes only from the power of Jesus, who won the victory for us and who offers us the power to overcome. Through Christ, we are not only forgiven our sins, we are to be dead to them, and we are freed from them. They no longer have to dominate us. These are amazing promises, powerful promises, promises that all who profess the name of Christ must claim for themselves. What has your own experience been with the enslaving and brutal power of sin? How can you learn to better grasp hold of the wonderful promises of freedom that have been offered to us in Jesus?