In the Scriptures, a person is considered enslaved to the extent
that he or she is attached to anything that is not God. “No servant
can serve two masters,” Jesus says in Luke 16:13. “Either he
will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the
one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
When God is not master of a person’s life, other forces are
free to enslave him. A Christian must be especially careful not to
become encumbered by lesser “gods,” knowing the price Jesus
paid to set us free from the bondage of sin. In the passage quoted
above from the book of Romans, St. Paul speaks of the horrible
effects of this enslavement. Wretched man that I am! Who will
deliver me from this body of death?
Inevitably, the way of bondage is the way of death. However,
even at the moment of death, the liberation of the cross is possible.
Two men were crucified with Christ, one on each side of
him (the seats that James and John requested). Both prisoners
were guilty of the crimes for which they were being executed.
However, one admitted his guilt; from his cross, Jesus assured
that thief that they would soon be in paradise.