We like to think we are free people but, in truth, we are not. We are free to make our own choices, but those choices only define or determine who or what we are enslaved to. Before we go any further, let’s define slavery rather than limit ourselves to the images the word “slave” conjures up. We usually think of it being a person- and it most certainly can be that. But look at how it is also defined from Merriam Webster’s Desk Dictionary: “a person entirely under the domination of an influence or person.” This is interesting.
There’s a song that Bob Dylan wrote and recorded back in 1979 called “You Gotta Serve Somebody.” He understood this concept and was imparting wisdom he learned somewhere to others. The chorus says, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody, It may be the devil or it may the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” This is true. Of course, the Bible originated it a long time ago by telling us in Romans 6:16, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience (to God) which leads to righteousness?”
So what the Lord is saying through the apostle Paul is what God is telling you (in this case) through Bob Dylan’s writing (God can accomplish His purposes through both saints and sinners), “But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes, You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” Do you see the connection? We think we are free but we, by our choices, are ultimately led to sin and death (“It may be the devil” -or our flesh) or to life and freedom in and through Jesus Christ (“It may be the Lord”).
We are free to make our own choices, yes. But the choices we make lead to death or life. So we are not in control. We serve somebody. We either serve the devil or we serve the Lord. If you remain just as you are, you are serving the former. If you repent, confess your sins, and are baptized you will serve the latter. Which is it going to be?