It is possible that at the time Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans that there were as many as ten million slaves throughout the empire. It is likely that half a million slaves lived in the city of Rome itself. Imagine what it must have been like to be only a piece of property—to live in bondage everyday; to be subservient to your master’s every whim.
We can imagine, for the fact is, that we are born into this spiritual condition. All of us are slaves to sin. That is the imagery the Apostle uses throughout the sixth chapter of Romans. For example in verses six and seven, he writes, “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”
Jesus’ mission to earth was to set us free from sin. For a time it seemed that mission was in jeopardy. The Lord of life had been nailed to a cross. His corpse was sealed in a tomb under guard by Roman soldiers. Worse, death wrapped its dark chains around Him until the third day.
“Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus my Savior; He tore the bars away, Jesus, my Lord!” Peter, who saw Him, alive from the dead preached this, “[Christ] God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Acts 2:24). Hebrews 2:14-15 puts it this way, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
He was free!
Because Jesus has broken the shackles of sin and death, we are free—free from guilt, shame, fear, condemnation—free at last!