‘Receive him forever, not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother.’ Philemon 1:15–16 KJV
What finally brought about an end to slavery? The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Note the small letter Paul wrote to a believer named Philemon. A runaway slave was thrown into a Roman prison along with Paul, and Paul converted him to Christ. And when the slave was released, Paul sent him back to his owner, Philemon. The custom at that time was to kill escaped slaves after they’d been recaptured. But since Philemon was a Christian—another convert of the apostle Paul—he instructed to receive the slave back, ‘not as a servant, but above a servant, a brother.’ And in that new brotherhood, it wasn’t the slave who was executed, it was slavery.
Now, fast forward to the days of William Wilberforce. He was an Englishman, convicted of his sin and converted under the preaching of John Wesley. Wilberforce, a slight, hunch-backed man, became one of the most powerful members of the British Parliament. Consumed by the Gospel and the freedom that Christ offered, Wilberforce devoted all his energies and eloquence to overthrowing the African slave trade. And his success in abolishing it throughout the British Empire led to agitation for similar action to take place in the United States. Ministers began to thunder from pulpits throughout the northern states and, as a result, abolitionist parties came into being and succeeded in destroying slavery in the USA. So it was through the church that slavery came to be seen as an evil and was eradicated in many parts of the world. Jesus came ‘to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives.’ (Luke 4:18 NKJ) Are you a member of Christ’s redeemed church? If not, you can sign up today! Check out vision180.org.au/you-need-jesus/
SoulFood: Isa 26–29, Luke 2:1–7, Ps 46, Pro 1:32–33
word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019