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Slavery is an awful thing. At it’s very core, it’s an attempt to devalue an invaluable human life. Slavery does two things – it removes the freedom of the person, and it’s also a vehicle for abuse and violence towards that same person. I’ve never been exposed to slavery – I can read about it and attempt to imagine the effects of it. But I have been a slave to sin, and sickness. I’ve seen my freedom slip away and violent attacks against my spirit and body. We all have.

When President Lincoln sat down at his desk on New Years Day 150 years ago, he dipped his pen in ink and signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In that moment, countless slaves were free. With the stroke of a pen, it was done. The problem was, the slaves didn’t know it yet. They got up before dawn, and started another day of gruelling work and punishment. Even though their freedom had already been declared by the one who had the power and authority to set them free, they didn’t know it. The good news had to reach them – either printed or spoken words, declaring a new and immediate freedom with no conditions. The only thing that changed in the moment before & after they heard the emancipation proclamation, was their knowledge of it. In a split second, they were aware of the truth and no longer had to submit to the ones who had them in bondage. They didn’t need the President to walk onto their property and negotiate an exit package with their former owners. They simply walked away.

Freedom comes when we’re aware of it. You’re free to the degree you know you are free. Jesus tells us in John 8 that everyone who sins is a slave to sin, but who the Son sets free is free indeed. There is no better news than this. This is the gospel. You see, it’s not just a matter of where you go when you die, it’s a matter of how free you are here in this life. What Jesus offers is freedom from sin and all the abuse and bondage it brings.

What are the areas where you’re not experiencing freedom? Whatever it is, the emancipation proclamation has already been signed. The One, the only One with authority and power to free you has already paid the price and set you free. Forever free. We only need a greater revelation of the freedom we already have.

When Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves of the south, he also welcomed them to join the fight in the Civil War. The ones who were in bondage, working the land and serving owners who treated them like animals, were now given uniforms and weapons to win back the very land they had been slaves in. They were part of an army bringing freedom to more and more slaves. Beloved, this is your territory. This place where you once felt in bondage and destroyed, is the very place where your King is giving you weapons and authority to set more people free.

It’s time to live the truth of who you are. You’re no longer a slave to fear, to sin, to sickness. You are free indeed.