On June 19, 1865, over 2 years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and read General Order Number 3: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” For the first time, slaves in Texas learned that they were already free. Some were shocked; many others celebrated. June 19 soon became known as “Juneteenth.”

Nearly 25 years after the “Emancipation Proclamation” of the cross of Jesus, Paul wrote to the Roman believers. Some of them still did not understand what it meant to be free from sin’s bondage. They thought they could go on sinning because they were under grace (Rom. 6:15). So Paul reminded them of their status in Jesus by appealing to a familiar fact: Whatever we submit to becomes our master (John 8:34). To commit sin puts us in bondage to sin.

The other option is to be a slave of righteousness. Salvation actually means a change of bondage. As we once served sin, we are now committed to lives of righteousness because of the freedom Jesus provides.

My brothers and sisters, let us become in practice what we already are in status—free!