“For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” (1 Corinthians 7:22–23, AV)
When I lived in Savannah Georgia, I went to a car auction. I did not know what I was going to purchase, but I went with a few hundred dollars in my pocket. Now, I always wanted a Mercedes diesel. As we previewed the cars, I saw one. It was tan with a good degree of rust and quite beat up. The previous owners apparently drove it hard and did not keep up with the maintenance.
The auctioneer started and the bidding stalled out at a fairly low price, one within my range. So, I put an extra fifty dollars on the highest bid and no one placed any higher offer. I won the bid. Getting the car home was a challenge. It would drive, but there was a half turn of play in the steering wheel. To stay on the road, I would have to swing the wheel back and forth 180 degrees. It was harrowing, but I made it.
After getting home, I proceeded to work on restoring the vehicle. I fixed the steering, rebuilt the engine, reupholstered the seats, fixed the rust, and a few other things. It was once again road worthy and I used the car for business trips to Atlanta and other places. The verses here reminded me of this auction experience.
In these verses, Paul contrasted the servant, doulos, the slave, with the freeman. He then indicated that the believer was “bought with a price.” The verb, “bought,” agorazo, literally means to go to the market to purchase, specially, to redeem (Strong G59). It is in the passive voice and in context refers to one who was redeemed in the marketplace.
The picture I have in my mind is of a slave standing on a platform in the marketplace. The auctioneer calling for bids like I did on my Mercedes. Some bids are being made. The owner of this slave was a cruel and harsh taskmaster. He was one who abused the slave, working to destroy him. Then one comes along who makes an offer for the slave that no one else could ever match. This person redeems the slave with a price, a high price. This new owner is not the harsh taskmaster. He is one who loves the slave and who would give everything for the slave. He purchased the beaten and defeated slave and lovingly worked to heal the slave’s wounds. He gave the slave a share of glory, abundant joy, and restored him to usefulness.
The slave in this story is every believer in Jesus Christ. He is you and I. We were slaves to sin and the devil’s dominion over us. The one who purchased the slave in the market was Jesus Christ. He paid the price of redemption by shedding his own blood on the cross and in so doing, set us free from that which bound us. Now our ownership has been permanently changed. Jesus purchased us from this harsh and wicked taskmaster and has made us His own. Jesus our Lord has rescued us, healed us, and clothed us with righteous garments. Moreover, He has made us heirs of glory and is working in our lives every moment to bless us and make us a blessing.
Let us praise Him for His marvelous grace. We are freed from our wicked master and now live to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.