In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus says “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” To commit sin is to become a slave to sin. The inheritance we receive from our first parents is this type of spiritual bondage, with far-reaching impact, where we are unable to extricate ourselves from that which alienates us from God.
Freedom from slavery, in the ancient near eastern context, usually required a redemption fee to be paid to the slave owner. One needed to therefore be ransomed from slavery to freedom. The rescue had to come from a family member or perhaps a close friend. The price was often steep, as a labor value of a slave was relatively high. When it comes to sin, the wages of it are death (Romans 6:23). No mere creature can redeem us from the slavery to sin because no creature can buy us back from death.
In Mark 10:45 and Matthew 20:28, Jesus says that He came to give His life as a ransom for many. He came to free us from slavery and the ultimate destruction of sin. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son as our ransom from sin and death. Only God can give life, for He is the very source of it.
Believing in the Son, as one becomes a true disciple, is to remain in His word. It is to fully trust the whole of our lives to Him. If we call Him Lord, then He is Lord of everything or Lord of nothing. The works of Abraham, we are told, were the works of faith (Hebrews 11:17-19). Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him (Abraham) as righteousness (Romans 4, et. al.). Jesus tells the crowd that those who are true children of Abraham will follow this example. God was in the midst of these people in a much more obvious way than He was to Abraham. They had more to go on, as it were. And they still turned away. This is the exact opposite of Abraham’s exemplary faith in trusting God despite having much less to go on. May we follow the path of Abraham and embrace the grace and mercy of God that is right in front of us.