Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?» (Romans 6: 1 6)
In ancient Rome, the person who has acquired excessive debts and failed to meet the payments was called addictus. The creditors took the addictus to the public square where they call his name and the amount of his debt just in case any compassionate relative, friend or citizen wanted to pay the due amount to free the debtor. If after sixty days nobody pays the debt, the creditors acquired the rights of making the addictus a slave by selling or keeping him for his services. Octavio Paz, awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990, said that «the drug addiction is a modern form of slavery.» By extension, we can say that any form of addiction, whether related to a substance or a behavior, is a form of slavery. Of course, the bondage of sin involves the worst slavery: the moral one.
Paul presents in Romans 6 a double side of the slavery concept: being a slave of the sin whose end is death (v. 16) and being a slave of obedience whose end is righteousness (v. 16) and eternal life (v. 22). At first sight, it seems unpleasant to say that the human being is a slave of sin or of God’s obedience. However, choice (Deut. 30: 19, Luke 16: 13) is the main theme presented throughout the Scriptures and every human being chooses freely. That said, once we decide whom we should serve, we should remember that the paths are opposed: one ends in life and the other one in perdition and death.
Tradition says that a noble of the Roman Empire went to the slaves’ auction and set his eyes on a strong and good-looking young man for whom he bid incessantly. That slave looked at the noble helplessly, seeing himself a victim of an unfair system. In those moments, he imagined the years of cruelty and abuse that were waiting ahead of him and experienced a terrible feeling of hate and despair for not being able to be free again. After the purchase was finished, the rich and the slave, joined by a chain, got away from the marketplace until they reached a remote area of the city. There, the powerful one broke the chain and, looking at him with sympathy and joy, exclaimed:
«I bought you so you can be free. You can go now.»
Stunned, the slave, recovering from the shock and moved by the noble’s love, cried out:
«My Lord! Make me your slave! I’ll serve you for the rest of my life!»
Who does not want to be the servant of the loving and compassionate King of Universe ?