Friday, November 09, 2007

In Search of True Freedom

The Christian gospel is a message of liberation to those who are enslaved by sin. In our presentation of the gospel we must not stop with forgiveness because as wonderful as that is, Jesus not only promises to forgive our sins, but to set us free from the power of sin. Even though our experience of complete liberation from sin, and from death which is inevitably attached to it, awaits the new heaven and earth, here and now, in this life, there is power to live a life of faith and repentance in the Lord.

This profound experience of liberation with the promise of complete liberation to come should make Christians sensitive to forms of human slavery that exist in our world today and we should be willing to do what we can to break the bonds of those who are oppressed by cruel and immoral masters.

Recently there have been a number of stories in the media about those who traffic in human beings especially in connection with the sex trade. One such report landed in my inbox this past week came in the form of "Today's Family News," which is an electronic newsletter published by Focus on the Family Canada. This helpful little e-letter is a weekly compendium of news items that have to do with family and moral issues in Canada.

In the latest edition (dated November 7th) they report on various groups and individuals who are critical of Canada's laxity in dealing with those who take advantage of children in other countries. In the article they quote University of British Columbia law professor Benjamin Perrin, who is the head of a group that battles human trafficking and child-sex tourism as saying that, "Canada is contributing far more to the international sex trade problem than it is to the solution."

As if this were not bad enough, according to those who are on the front lines, child-sex tourism is only part of a larger trafficking problem that enslaves both children and women. In fact, the International Justice Mission Canada claims that there are 27 million people trapped in various forms of slavery today, which means more people are enslaved in 2007 than were brought from Africa as slaves 400 years ago.

Whatever the numbers, this kind of human exploitation must stop. Even one child or woman slave is too many. As Christians we need to pray and pressure our government to take steps to do its part to combat this global tragedy. And we need to walk in the freedom of Christ and not dabble with sin of any kind. For I am convinced that the more we walk in holiness, the more we will find what is happening to our 'neighbors' (in a biblical 'Good Samaritan' sense) unacceptable. And we must also share the good news of Christian liberation with others for only when King Jesus reigns in the human heart will sinful human slavery come to an end.

Long ago Jesus said: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31). Truer words were never spoken. True freedom is found in him. He changes people from the inside out and in so doing makes any form of slavery, except the glad and willing service of his people, a thing of the past.

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