Although historians disagree on the details, most agree that President Abraham Lincoln tried to buy slaves during the Civil War in order to set them free.

In one case, Lincoln personally offered to buy a slave from an owner. Kentucky was on the Union side but was unwilling to emancipate the slaves that lived there. In late 1862, when an escaped slave found refuge with a Union army regiment and the Kentucky owner demanded his return, Lincoln wrote to the owner, “I will pay you any sum not to exceed $500.” (Marquette Law Review 2010)

According to Columbia University historian Eric Foner, “During the first two years of the war Lincoln repeatedly offered ‘compensated emancipation’ to the border slave states that remained in the Union and any Confederate states interested…”

Though it may be apocryphal, there is another story that Abraham Lincoln went down to the slave block to buy back a slave girl. As she looked at the white man bidding on her, she figured he was another white man, going to buy her and then abuse her. He won the bid and as he was walking away with his property, he said, “Young lady, you are free.”

She said, “What does that mean?”

“It means you are free.”

“Does that mean,” she said, “that I can say whatever I want to say?”

Lincoln said, “Yes, my dear, you can say whatever you want to say.”

“Does that mean,” she said, “That I can be whatever I want to be?”

Lincoln said, “Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.”

“Does that mean I can go wherever I want to go?”

He said, “Yes, you can go wherever you want to go.”

And the girl, with tears streaming down her face, said, “Then I will go with you.”

Paul told the churches in Galatia, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Gal. 5:1. No one can imagine going back into slavery after being set free. Yet Christians in Paul’s day were stepping back into the chains of tradition, “religion”, and legalism, leaving behind the freedom they had in the true Gospel.  We follow Christ out of an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude for His great (and free) gift of salvation!
This Sunday we start our new preaching series through the book of Galatians, called “Freedom: The Liberating Grace of God”. I’m very excited about this new series and encourage you to read Gal. 1:1-10 ahead of time. 
Free indeed!