freedom

I Was Held Captive Until the Ransom Was Paid

I Was Held Captive Until the Ransom Was Paid

The Story of the Prisoner Exchange

Hostage JpgI want to tell you the story about the time in my life when I was held captive and was forced to be a slave and had to have someone pay a huge ransom for me in order to secure my freedom. During my time of imprisonment, I was beaten, and made to feel as if I would never be in a position of freedom again. I was lied to constantly about who loved me and who would help me.  I felt completely lost and without any hope of ever breaking free. I was kept in chains, bound night and day, and even when I was working to try to earn my own freedom, I knew it would never be enough.

The leader of the outlaw gang that was holding me was a ruthless and vile being, full of hate and completely void of any love or compassion. He would kill without remorse if he thought he had an opportunity to do so. Daily he would send those that followed him out to cause as much harm and cruelty and pain to all they would meet.

I am free now, but mind you, I was not the only one held captive by this gang. There were and are many others to this day that are being held against their will. And they too are being beaten and harassed and threatened and made to fear every day, held in chains with no hope, not knowing the one great truth that could set them free from the one who is holding them. If only someone would tell them! If they would just listen! I tried to tell as many as I could and still do but so many times those who are being held are so blinded by the lies that they are being told everyday that when they hear the truth it just seems too good to be true to them and they refuse to take it as truth.

You see the thing that you must understand about me and my captivity is I’m free today because the huge ransom that was required to secure my freedom was paid in full and  here is the amazing thing, you might say astounding truth, it was not only paid for me but the ransom was paid for everyone of those who were and are being held by this outlaw gang. Every one of them is free to leave and to be free of the chains that hold them. No longer do they have to be slaves nor do they have to continue to do the bidding of the one who is lying to them and telling them that the good news of their freedom they are hearing is all a lie! All of those who are being held can accept the price paid today and simply walk out of their prison and escape the torment they are experiencing.

In telling this story, I feel I must let you know it was through no fault of my own that I was held in captivity and suffered all these things. It was, however, because of a family member and what he and his wife did that caused not only me but all those who were held in bondage with me and those who are held today to be in this condition.

You might say, “Well, I would be furious with them for doing whatever it was that they did to bring this on so many.” But in truth I would probably have not done anything different than what they did.  I would like to think I would have but the plan truth is, when presented with the same options, all of us have fallen short, none of us, no, not one is without blame.

You see my family member’s names were Adam and his wife Eve, and well, here is what they did: They sinned and disobeyed their Father. He had given them everything and asked only one thing for them not to do and well, you guessed it, they just had to do what they were instructed not to do.  When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. Romans 5:12-14   

Here I must stop and explain something before I continue about the man that paid my debt, my ransom, and secured my freedom: His name, well, is Wonderful, it’s Mighty, you could say He is the Prince of Peace. Of course, we all call him Jesus.  But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Romans 5:15-18 (NLT2) Isn’t it amazing that because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19.

Now, back to the ordeal of me being a captive and a slave and the awful lying. Who was and is the captor? Well, let’s just say it like it is: It’s the Devil! He is just an evil, hate-filled devil and completely bad. But the good news is I am free now and happily serve a good and kind and full of love and compassion master who loved me so very much that even when I was an enemy of his and did not care about him in any way, because he is so good and full of grace and love he came and paid for my freedom, as a matter of fact his Father sent him and he willingly came; But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Rom. 5:8. Is that not just too good to be true?

And I will tell you something, I knew I was wrong long before anyone ever told me but I refused to acknowledge the plain truth before me, and really, not only me but all who are being held captive know the truth. How do I know? Well, just like me, they know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Romans 1:19-20. And before you say it, Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. Romans 1:21-22.

paul-conversion02As I said previously, Adam’s one sin brought condemnation for everyone because he did not obey God’s law, thus the situation I was in and maybe you are finding yourself in as you read this. I found out I was a slave to sin and I too had not been obeying God or his word. So, why did God make a law anyway? Well, because if there was not a law I would not have known I was in trouble and then when the sentence was passed down I would have had no escape. Let me say it this way, better yet, I’m just going to quote another family member, my brother Paul. (He used to go by Saul but then there was this whole ordeal with bright lights when he was on his way to Damascus and he got detoured to a guys house. Anyway, if you want to know about that you can read his testimony in a book called Acts around chapter 9.)

So, here is what Paul says in Romans 5:20-21:  God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Makes since, right? I thought so too, so the next question is, ‘Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it’? Romans 6:1-2. Oh, well since you put it that way Paul, I can see why I would be better off to live my life in a whole new way.

At this point if you are still with me in this narrative, you may be asking “What about the slave and getting free part and the ransom that was paid?” Okay, here it is, as one man used to say, here is the rest of the story:  The one who paid for my ransom and set me free (and not only me, but everybody) is none other than my older brother, Jesus. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. Romans 6:3-5

Again, I’m just going to let Paul tell you because he has a real way with words and he is much better at this than I am and this is the whole thing about the prisoner exchange from being a prisoner of sin to becoming a prisoner of righteousness. Yeah, I’m still in the “Big House” but it is awesome and well, I for one will never leave. So, go ahead Paul and finish the story.

Hello, Paul here, and I’m going to take it from where my brother Darrell left off. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.  We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.  So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.  Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 

Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.  Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.  Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not!  Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 

Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.  Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.  Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right.  And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom.  But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:5-23 (NLT2)

Wow! Thank you, Paul!  You know, even now after all these years of freedom, I am still amazed by his amazing grace and I love to tell the story of my freedom. Everyday I learn more about the one who set me free, and one day I am just going to go and live in the same house with him. He made that invitation. Oh, and listen, if I failed to mention it, Jesus, my older brother, the one who paid for everything and everybody said to let “Whosoever will” come and join me. So, come, yes you, let’s go to Jesus’ place and have a party, it’s gonna be a blast.

Oh, one other thing, in order to go you must accept the invitation.  There is no charge to you. It is a 100% free gift. All you have to do receive it…. here’s how:

Salvation is a gift from God and comes through believing in Jesus and Jesus alone. In John 14:6, the Bible tells us very clearly that Christ is the only way to God and eternal life, and in Romans 10:9–11, the Bible tells us how to be saved and have eternal life: Believe in our hearts that Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the grave, and confess with our mouths that He is our Lord and Savior.

To accept Christ into your life and be saved, please say this salvation prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love for me, for sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for all my sins. His precious blood washes me clean. You raised Him from the dead. He’s alive today. And I thank You all my sins are forgiven. I’m righteous by the blood. I’m under God’s favor. And I thank You Father that surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life from this day forth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

 

Scripture Reference New Living TranslationCopyright 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation  AbbreviationNLT, NLTse NLT2 and King James Bible

Look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone.

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