We think we’re free in our culture. We’re really not, for we worship our own inmost desires, even if they are destructive. We become slaves to them. But, Jesus is “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matt. 11:19). He rescues us from the slavery of sin and death by taking our place. He voluntarily handed Himself over to receive the punishment we deserve for our self-destructive behavior. He is the One “whom God [graciously] put forward as a propitiation by his blood [His death], to be received by faith” (Rom. 3:25). Thus, “the righteousness of God has been manifested” (Rom. 3:21); that is, true righteousness, true freedom, has come among us in Jesus Christ! In Him “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), free from slavery to self and our own works, free to serve as those who have graciously received everything we truly need.