Prison | What’s it like to be a prisoner? In Stephen King’s Shawshank Redemption, Red reflects, “At first you can’t stand those four walls, then you get so you can abide them, then you get so you accept them, and then … you begin to love them. You’re told when to eat, when you can write letters, when you can smoke … You’re assigned five minutes of each hour when you can go to the bathroom. For 35 years, my time was 25 minutes after the hour.”
Freedom | When he’s paroled, he has a hard time adjusting to his freedom: “When I had to go [to the bathroom] … I had to fight the almost overwhelming need to check in with my boss … I wanted to tell him, ‘That’s what a whole life in prison does for you, young man. It turns everyone in a position of authority into a master and you into every master’s dog’ … Everything was strange and frightening. But maybe you get the idea or at least can grasp at least a corner of it. I began to think about doing something to get back in.”
Redemption | Apart from Christ, we are prisoners or, more accurately, slaves to sin . Sin is our master and death is our wage. This situation cries out for redemption and, therefore, God speaks His name: “Our Redeemer – the Lord of hosts is his name – is the Holy One of Israel” . In Christ our Redeemer, God frees His people: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” . How are we to live as redeemed people? Paul writes, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” . What does freedom look like? Paul explains, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” .
Prayer | Lord, You are our great Redeemer. Although we were once prisoners and slaves to sin, you broke that bond of slavery on the cross. In Christ, you purchased our freedom so that we are free if we believe in him. Let us, therefore, live according to the Spirit, not the sinful nature, within us. For he gives us the freedom that comes from taking great delight in your good and gracious law. Amen.