Scriptures

From Slavery To Freedom. Part 1

Introduction

By Funmi Glover

SLAVE??!! WHAT?? ME?? NEVER!!!!

As far as I am aware none of us here today and most of us in the western world or world at large have any true concept of human slavery is or what it is like to be rescued or bought as a slave. First of all I will be talking about slavery… What it is, how one becomes a slave, the life of a slave and how and why slaves are freed. My second talk will be about the life of a freed slave in Christ: the freedom, privileges and responsibilities we have as freed slaves.

Both talks are meant to be challenging and encouraging. They are meant to make each one of us think about who we were, who and whose we are, and our daily walk in this life. We have to start at the beginning in Genesis chapters 1-3.

Let us set the scene:
A creator… Awesome and magnificent in nature and glory!! The word glory (or SHIKINAR): Primarily means a good or correct opinion, estimation or knowledge of what God’s nature is and what He does; shown in whatever way he reveals Himself and in the Person of Christ. And the praise, worship & honour that results from such correct opinion / estimation of Him.

Let us take a closer look at some of the glory of God mentioned in the Bible:

His name is- Yahweh “I AM who I AM” The ever-existing One – Exodus 2:14, Revelation 1:8
His home and throne is in Heaven- Isaiah 66:1 (the earth is His footstool)
In power and look His glory is massive and mighty and its brightness and splendour is magnificent and pure light. Ephesians 1:17, Exodus 34:29-35
He is The Holy King of Kings, Awesome God & surrounded by myriads of powerful spirits who constantly proclaim His glory and holiness. Isaiah 6:1-4, Hebrews 12:22-23, Ezekiel 1:4-28.

Only He is to be worshipped and served (Deuteronomy 6:13; Luke 4; 8)
He has Power over Life & Death – 1 Kings 17:17-22, 2Kings4:8-37, Isaiah 38:5
He is Omnipotent (All powerful): Deuteronomy 32:39
He is Omniscient (All knowing), Omnipresent (All present) & Wise: For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.

He is light and in Him is no darkness at all 1John1:5
He is Pure: His eyes are too pure to look on evil (Habakkuk 1:13)
His Glory is visible and can be seen and heard – Psalm 19:1
He is Creator and our life- In Him is life and this life is the light of men John 1:1-4
He has a Sense of Humour – have you seen the giraffe?
He loves Orderliness and plans with wisdom and detail: His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours and different to our wisdom. 1Cor 1:25, 3:19, 14:33; Hebrews 4:12.
He is the source of all divine splendour and perfection; and to whom they all belong.

He is Judge, lawgiver, King and Redeemer Isaiah 33:22
He is a Jealous God: Exodus 34:14
His word is Truth & Reliable. He does not lie. He is faithful, Righteous & keeps His promises Heb 6:18; Num 23:19, Psalm 145:17

He is a Covenant God – Genesis 12:1-3
He is the ultimate Provider and Protector – Deuteronomy 29:4-5, Mt 6:25-34
He is Merciful & Gracious; slow to anger & abounding in steadfast love Exodus 34:36
He is Thoughtful & considerate and gives instructions for how people can be consecrate and kept safe so they are not destroyed – Exodus 19, Genesis 3:21-24
He is always at work every day: John 5:17

He is Redeemer and Counsellor – Isaiah 47:4, John 14:16;25
Relationship & Unity are extremely important to Him
He loves Obedience and it is of great importance to Him: Deuteronomy 6:4-7, John 15:1-17
He is LOVE- All His character and actions are embedded in love beyond our imagination 1 John 4:8.

In the beginning we see God making an amazing jaw dropping universe in Genesis chapter 1! Then He focuses on the earth, a very, very tiny planet and starts speaking so powerfully that as he commands so it happens. He makes day and night (know on-one has ever been able to stop day or night happening except God Himself. Finally time for His master piece, God says:

’Let us make man in our image in our likeness’…

And He does… the first of His creation that he doesn’t just speak into existence but He pauses, smiles lovingly, nods then starts to mould and shape as a potter with clay at the wheel. Then He breathes the breathe of lives into his nostrils and the man became a living creature, and He made woman too.

Imagine the emotion, the joy, the love and at the end of it, God looked at all He had done and saw it was very good! This is no accident for Ephesians chapter 1 tells us that he did not just plan creation but was prepared and ready, for all eventualities, before creating.

In making man, in His image God gave him characteristics of Himself just like we have characteristics of our parents. He gave us a spirit and a soul that never dies so we will live forever, emotions so we will know e.g. joy, pain.

He also gave us the knowledge to do right and the desire and ability to choose to do right rather than do wrong and disobey. He also put the desire in us to seek, worship, honour and serve Him; and to be relational beings like Him and be in a relationship with Him, since He absolutely loves relationships and unity all embedded in love.

As we know by chapter 3 of Genesis, in comes Satan, the deceiver. Satan (Gk Satanas) means an adversary, an opponent in a contest, conflict or dispute. Synonymous of a rival, enemy, foe, challenger, opposer. It is a term that is used in the bible of men, of an angel of God and of course, the Devil as God’s rival and the malignant enemy of God and man. The Devil (Diablo to accuse, to malign) is an accuser and a slanderer of man to God.

He raised himself in pride against God and fell under God’s condemnation (1 Tim 3:6). He keeps seeking whom he can devour like a roaring lion and even will disguise himself like an angel of light (1 Peter 5:8) He takes captive those who fall into his snare He afflicts men with physical sufferings e.g. (Job1:6-11, Rev 12:9-10, Zac 3:1, Acts 10:38) His goal is to instigate man to sin and tempts him to do evil against God by encouraging him through deception (Ephesians 2:2). He can be resisted as he is not all powerful or equal to God. His fury and malignancy will continue until the end of the age (Rev 20:10).

Back to our story, so in comes Satan, who appeals to Eve’s physical senses and desires, and deceives her into eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She then offers it to her husband who was there witnessing the whole thing but chose to listen to Satan, not look out for Eve and disobey God. This gave sin a chance to come into our realm and from then on: Everyone who chooses wrong / evil and therefore disobeys God is ensnared and enslaved by sin which is breaking God’s law.

PHYSICAL SLAVERY

One of the evils of sin is the selling and buying of humans into slavery across the world. People became slaves in various ways- as travellers captured in foreign lands, or taken during a military campaign or bestowed by the king or as prisoners of war or in response to labour shortage. Some sold themselves or family members due to debt to escape poverty. E.G. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery for 20 pieces of silver and was taken abroad by merchants (Genesis 37:26-28).

Sometimes slaves were tattooed to mark their status and had reduced or no rights. Slaves of Greece, Rome or the southern states of the USA, were wholly at the mercy of their owners with little protection from society unlike slaves in ancient Egypt and the rest of the world.

Just as there is no minimum age to become a physical slave, there is no specified age or gender or nationality to becoming a spiritual slave to sin. God knows when we reach the age of not just knowing right and wrong but choosing purposefully to do wrong. And the Devil, our adversary and accuser, is ever ready to tempt us with help from the demons.

This one act of disobedience by Adam and Eve resulted in: lying, deceiving, blaming, nakedness, hiding, punishments, enmity, banishment from the sight of their creator, hardships, death (physical and spiritual separation from the Life Source) and therefore the best ever relationship they were meant to have.

The result of ONE sin & transgression  

Judgement & wrath of God  Condemnation Ephesians 2:1-3 Colossians says through the one man Adam, sin can into the world causing the greatest chasm unimaginable, so wide so deep, between man and God. This is what happens when we rebel and disobey God. The whole duty of man is to fear His creator and keep His commands. No fear of God removes God from our life and results in foolish actions and a meaningless pointless existence. Like Eve, we start to use our wisdom which is foolishness to God (1 Co 1:25; Rm 7:10; 25).

Just like with Adam and Eve all it takes is one act of disobedience for each of us to be in bondage to sin and for our light which is our life, to go out and be in permanent darkness and eternal separation from God. Jesus tells his listeners that everyone who sins, disobeys God by breaking His law and becomes a slave to sin (John 8:34).

One act for spiritual slavery to take place and there seems to be absolutely nothing any of us can do about it, (temptation enjoyed as always at the price of losing the capacity for flight and freedom). Romans 3 tell us that

‘all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory”

(His true knowledge and reflection of Him in us). Our disobedient acts of sin also resulted in the whole world, earth itself being held in bondage to decay, futility and frustration which we see today.
Mans sin had a devastating effect on all creation and not just on man himself (Rm 8:19-23).

God in perpetual light and full of glory and life and all the love and blessings are now on one side and man, now full of darkness within, is on the other side in utter darkness which we cannot see with our physical eyes. Death and despair now separating us from our life and light source for all eternity and finally to end up in a place meant for Satan and the demons because we listen to Satan and our physical desires.

In the process of sinning we have given up the ability to display the true image of God in us and we swapped His light in us for complete utter darkness. Look at what Jesus said in Luke 11:34,36:

‘When your eyes are good your whole body is full of light. But when they are bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore if your whole body is full of light and no part of it dark it will be completely lighted. If then the light within you is darkness how great is that darkness.’

We can’t be part light or darkness. We either have full light or full darkness in us.

This effect still continues today in all human beings whether we are aware of it or not. Just like in the garden when Eve saw the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as good for food, pleasing to the eye and for gaining wisdom; John reminds us it still is the same today. It always has to do with the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life (the boasting of what we have and do).

We each still want to be like God knowing good and evil even though we cannot handle it and we choose wrong to our destruction (1 John 2:15-17); while replacing & forgetting God in the process.

Like a silent terminal cancer that so easily entangles and rampantly ravages our soul sin binds us into the bondage of its slavery and we cannot set ourselves free. Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written:

“there is none righteous not even one; there is no-one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless (of no value), there is none who does good not even one. Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law.” Romans 3:9-23

Paul in his letter to Titus in Titus 3:3 gives a good reminder for us who are Christians that at one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We too lived in malice and envy being hated and hating one another.

You see our minds are now set on things of the flesh where sin lives. We enjoy living by it and fulfilling its cravings and desires (e.g. Me eating Vienetta ice cream and getting stomach cramps but I could not stop eating it because it was so nice!). That is the effect of sin in us!

We have became

Hostile to God
Unable to submit to His word and law
Unable to please Him
Unable to save ourselves and of no value for anyone to desire to buy us back to our creator. How wretched we are!!! (Isaiah 6:4).

Many have tried in their own power to save themselves from slavery to sin by e.g. doing good deeds. e.g. Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, Steven Sutton (from Lichfield) who died of cancer and now has a knighthood. He was buried in Lichfield cathedral and crowds lined the streets for His funeral procession.

Celebrities, Religious leaders, Society speaking man’s wisdom with a loud voice e.g. Richard Dawkins & evolution; political correctness; multicultural tolerance. All this is to make ourselves feel better and point the finger look at what we have done and achieved.

Look we are not slaves to sin! Don’t you dare judge us!! Therefore you O God must allow us to be free to enter heaven … well if you exist! It is not about how nice we are or better than our neighbour or our religion, morality or our charity. I heard on the news once about a guy who decided to do one act of good deed a day.

Isaiah reminds us that our actions fall short because we have nothing but filthy sinful rags before God, and Paul in Ephesians 2:3 says to God we are children of wrath and dead. Jesus told the Jews who were feeling self righteous that they would die in their sins unless they believed Him. (John 8: 23-24, 36)

Paul in Romans 7:13-16 sheds true light on our inability to save ourselves:

For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?’

This is a war we cannot win, and a fight we are destined for defeat!

PICTURE OF “FILM TAKEN”…

It is just like in the film Taken, where two girls travel to Paris. They make the wrong choices and are then captured into sexual slavery with only the father of one of the girls, played by Liam Neeson, to save them as they could not save themselves; Similarly, no-one can contribute anything to their salvation or ransom. It would have to be a gift made by the creator Himself. For the ransom set by God is the pure blood of a person that has never disobeyed Him, for blood is the life source that cleanses all things.

BUYING THE SLAVE TO FREEDOM

Let us look at the purchase of slaves. In physical slavery, debt slaves or prisoners of war were at times set free after serving for a certain period. Some slaves escaped or were liberated by armies and a few were bought by Quakers, Methodists and religious activists for the sole purpose of freeing them. A rare option was “self purchase” where some slaves were able to buy their freedom and that of their own relatives. They had to work very hard for years to save the money to buy their freedom.

Spiritual slaves do not have any of these options as everybody is weighed down, tied and chained up as a slave to sin and under God’s wrath and condemned. No-one is free; no one is righteous to be able to pay the very costly blood price, no-one!! God does not see sin like we do. He has to react against it justly as He is a holy, righteous, pure King and judge. He cannot pretend or ignore sin like us. Precious stones of gold, silver, diamonds, all the money in the world or good deeds cannot buy us back. Without the shedding of Human blood there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22)

Not even the animal sacrifices offered year after year by the High Priest under the Law of Moses could permanently remove man’s sin forever and make him perfectly cleansed. Instead they were a constant reminder of sins every year (Hebrews 10:1-4, 11).

The most amazingly pre-prepared perfect plan in the whole universe of the loving creator had to be put into action. Our loving God would Himself, save us from our global sin problem. He would save man enslaved by the greatest cancer of all…

SIN!

You see His plan was that He will: Sanctify us Himself and make us perfect permanently, for all time Forgive us completely and never remember our sins and lawless deeds ever again Recreate us, reconcile us to Himself and bring us back fully into the amazing relationship we were created to have with Him and each other Adopt us as His children, sons with full rights Generously and permanently put His Spirit in us We will become His righteousness He will have a covenant with us.

He will put His laws on our hearts and write them on our minds Do all this for those who believe, receive, put their faith in and obey the person He will send to pay the blood price to save them Offer the body of His one and only beloved Son, the Lord Jesus, once and for all Provide it all as a gift because of His overflowing grace, mercy and love for all of us

All this and much more God planned to do. By Jesus ‘sacrifice and shed blood we will then be: Cleansed and made just (perfect, as if we have never sinned) covered in His righteousness. God felt that it was fully fitting for Jesus to be fully human, live like us, be made perfect through suffering and yet have no sin, so that He could be our sacrifice.

Hebrews 2:10, Philippians 2:9, Ephesians1:4-5, 20-21, Hebrews 10:10-17 Romans 5:6 God’s love for His Son: How easy do we think it was for God to give up his son for us? How easy will it be for you to give up your own child or anyone you dearly love to be sacrifice for your enemies or those who disrespect, disregard, insult and hate you?

Remember the story of Abraham in Genesis chapter 22 when God tested Abraham’s faith. Verse 2 says

“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis 22:2

The Father too loved the Son before the foundation of the world (John 17:24, 26) He tells us of his love when He sent Him into the world:

“This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17,17:5; 2 Peter 1:15).

“This is my Son, my Chosen One” (Luke 9:35)

But while God stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and provided the Ram for the sacrifice, God goes through with sacrificing His only beloved Son for us.

Why would God do this for the wretched and miserable people we are? Because He, God is love and He so loved the world. He would endure agony and pain to show the immeasurable depth of love He has for us. Oh, how wide! How deep! How high! Is the love of God for us!

Genesis to Revelation shows that no matter the depth of sin and evil man reached, God’s love did not change. His focus on saving mankind and buying him back to Himself was and is of paramount and first importance.

This truly shows God’s righteousness, mercy, grace and His forbearance as He had passed over former sins. So when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem all of us who now were ungodly & under the law of sin and death. John 3:16, Gal 4:4

What About the Son’s love for His Father?

Just like Isaac chose to lie on the altar and allowed Abraham to bind him and lay there ready to be sacrificed, Jesus volunteered and in loving obedience to the Father chose to die and pay the blood price… The only child born to die!!!

Hebrews 10:5-7 tells us:

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

We also read in Titus 3:4-6 that He will show God’s goodness and loving kindness as our Saviour in saving us, not because of the righteous things we had done but because of His mercy.

Oh to be like him, quick to obey and show His Father’s glory. All parents hope their children will be faithful, willing and obedient like Jesus. The scriptures tell us Jesus’ glory is the same as that of His Father, God.

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and he Upholds the universe by the word of His power…” -Hebrews 1:1
He shared glory with God in the beginning -John: 17:5
His glory is very bright -Matthew 17:1-10
He is the only High Priest through whom we can approach the throne of God with confidence by making perfect forever those who are being made holy -Hebrews 10:14
He is powerful, knows all, sees all -Matthew 4:23-25; 8:28-34

According to the gospel of John: He is The Word, I AM (YHWH) & is to be worshipped (1:1-3; 8:58; 18:4-6)
He is pure and sinless (8: 23-24, 36)
He is life & the light of men (1:4)
He is full of grace and truth (1:14)
He loves as God loves and shows it (15:9; 15:12-13)
He loves unity (10:22, 30; 17:5; 20-23)
He works in a faithful relationship with the Father (5:19-20, 30).
He gives commands and loves obedience (15:10-12)
He is all knowing and all seeing (1:44-51)
He is the Light of the world (8:12;12:46)
He is the Gate for the sheep (10:7)
He is the Good Shepherd laying down His life (John 10:11)
He is the true vine (15:1)
He is The Way, The truth and The life (14:16)
He is the true living bread of life from heaven (6:35, 51)
He gives eternal living water for our souls (4:10-14)
He is the resurrection and the life (11:25).
He has power over life and death (11:1-45)

All these are shown in the signs John tells us about in Jesus:
He changed water into wine in Cana (2:11)
He healed many people (4: 43-54; 5: 1-15; 9:1-41)
He fed thousands (6:1-4)
He walked on the Sea of Galilee (6:16-21)

He raised Lazarus after being dead for 4 days (11:1-44)
He had the authority to lay His life down & to take it up again (John 10:17-18; Ephesians 1:19-23)
He rose up from the dead with witnesses who saw him and the empty tomb (20:1-30)
He truly is I AM!! God in the Flesh!! For no one can do all He did, and He only is our Saviour.

Price paid by the Christ (Messiah, Saviour) To pay the ransom as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, he had to:

Volunteer Himself

Just as we saw earlier in Heb 10:5-7:

Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’

Be Humble, Lower Himself, Be human, be an obedient selfless servant ready to suffer: The creator of the universe born a helpless baby relying on others and learning & choosing obedience and trust… WOW!

Paul tells us in that:

Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. He emptied himself, became a human servant, humbled himself obediently death on a cross Philippians 2:6-7

He allowed himself to be tortured, insulted, humiliated and nailed to a cross (to be a curse) which in Roman times was the most scandalous offensive barbaric painful and humiliating death (for people were crucified naked). (Luke 22:44)

What suffering and agony he went through!!! Just as with the animal sacrifices under the Old law which had to be brought into the home, and looked after as part of the family and the people had to lay their hands on it before it was sacrificed

Jesus had to be one of us, and both Jew and Gentiles laid their hands on him. He was beaten, insulted and falsely accused by the Jewish leaders after being arrested in the garden in Gethsemane. He was beaten and insulted by Herod; and under Pilate he was flogged, tortured, insulted, humiliated and nailed naked to a cross still with insults being hurled at him from His own people.

We too have our hands on him for we need to come in contact with his blood to be saved. Rembrandt put himself in the picture showing he too participated in Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus completed His sacrifice and paid the ransom in full by taking his shed blood into heaven itself.

He became the High Priest with a new covenant in whom God forgives us and reconciles us to Himself. He cleanses us with His blood and clothes us in His righteousness just like the parable of the prodigal son in which the loving Father received back the prodigal son.

By His sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews10:14).

Hebrews 9:24-28 tells us:

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Now: We have a chance to be redeemed and be slaves belonging to God who calls us one by one, by name, through His Son to choose to be freed by Him forever by putting our faith in Him and be yoked to Him. He promises that if we trust and obey Him, He will recreate us Himself, through Jesus’ death burial and resurrection when we are immersed in Him

He will fill us with His Spirit.
He will forgive us all our sins against Him and never ever remember them.
He promises to add us to His home, to become chosen members of His family, free from the bondage of sin, free from condemnation and eternal destruction.

For God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves in whom we have redemption the forgiveness of sin Colossians 1:13-14 How blessed are we who answer His call and have chosen to be bought by Him!!!

Come to me all you who are weary and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Revelation 3:20, Isaiah 55:6, 2 Corinthians 6:2. Those who have not accepted His call are still in slavery to sin. He is calling not just the whole world but each of us individually and He is still waiting and calling us to come and be bought by him so He can give us rest from the weariness and bondage of sin.

Bought by Christ Lyrics Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001 Thank you Music

In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; This Cornerstone, this solid Ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My Comforter, my All in All, Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! – who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe. This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save: Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied – For every sin on Him was laid; Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain: Then bursting forth in glorious day Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me, For I am His and He is mine – Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand: Till He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Second Session:

FROM FREEDOM TO SLAVERY: FREED! FREED From Sin! Now What….

The life of a freed slave in Christ: The freedom, privileges and responsibilities we have as freed slaves.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Colossians 3:12

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