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Freeman and Freedman
by Wayne Blank
Throughout the New Testament, the followers of Jesus Christ referred to themselves in various ways, such as the "faithful," the "elect," the "saints," the "believers" and the "church" (the literal meaning of the original word for church meant ones who are called, i.e. church actually means repentant and converted people, not a building or a corporate organization). Christian, from the Greek Christianos, was originally a term used by unbelievers to describe the followers of Jesus Christ as slaves (i.e. the suffix ianos was popularly used to specify the slaves of the one whose name with which it was compounded i.e. Christianos meant slaves of Christ), and was the name given to the church by the Greeks and Romans who most often intended it in a derogatory manner - although Paul, in referring to himself, made reference to that slave, or servant, label in a positive way by honorably calling himself a "a servant of Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:1).
The apostle Paul was a free man; he exercised his civil rights as a Roman citizen (e.g. Acts 22:25-29) that made him a free man throughout the Roman empire (well, at least until he started preaching the Gospel, see also Paul's Ministry). But even when he was "free," he knew he was a prisoner, a slave, to sin. It was only through the Christ that he could look forward to being truly free.
What Paul described of himself, applies to everyone.
"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
Fact Finder: When will freedom come?