One of the most common marketing devices today is the subscription service. Admittedly, this way of doing business is perfectly suited to our high-tech, internet-based way of life. Consumers subscribe to various services and thus have unfettered access to the online content they desire. These subscriptions may be for entertainment items, such as games, or music, or movies, or they may be for protective services, such as online backups for computers or ID theft coverage.
The advent of subscription services is a boon for companies. Instead of selling a product one time, they essentially rent it on a monthly basis. They receive a steady, and often increasing, monthly cash flow with very little additional capital investment on their part. The downside for consumers is that they can become slaves to their subscriptions. Once subscribed to a service, it is often difficult to give it up. We become accustomed to the service and cannot imagine living without it. This factor is compounded by the fact that while individual subscriptions may be modestly priced, the cumulative effect of multiple subscriptions can be devastating to one’s finances. Subscribers can thus literally become enslaved by their subscriptions.
This marketing device is a perfect analogy for Satan’s methods. He entices us with the appeal of this sin or that. He places it before us in such a way as to emphasize the joy it will bring us. He markets sinful conduct as though it will have very little impact on the big picture of our lives. When we give in to temptation it seems as though there is no immediate impact on our lives. The longer we participate in that sin, however, the more difficult it becomes to extricate ourselves from it. We thus become enslaved to it, just as Paul said in Rom. 6:16. There he said, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”
The only way to become free from enslavement to Satan’s subscription is to become a slave of Christ. We unsubscribe from Satan when we obey the gospel and commit ourselves to walking in the light. In Rom. 6:17-18 Paul said, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” The form of teaching to which the Roman Christians had committed themselves was baptism into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Rom. 6:3-7). This was essentially the “unsubscribe” button which broke their commitment to Satan.
Being unsubscribed from Satan, however, is only part of the story. When we obey the gospel, we do more than die to sin and to Satan’s subscription. We are also subscribing ourselves, as it were, to the Lord Jesus Christ. From that point onward, we owe our allegiance solely to Him, and our lives must reflect this change. In Gal. 6:17 Paul described it in these words: “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear in my body the brand-marks of Jesus.” Paul was subscribed to a new master, and it showed in his life. The same must be true for us when we are immersed into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.
Those who are subscribed to Christ no longer follow the “terms and conditions” of Satan. We follow the example of our Lord (1 Pet. 2:21-22). When we follow in the steps of Jesus, we walk in the light and His blood continues to cleanse us from all sin (1 Jn. 1:5-10). Our actions, words, thoughts, and attitudes will reflect our heavenly subscription, and all who see us will recognize it. When we are subscribed to Christ, our light will shine into the darkness of a world subscribed to Satan, and God will be glorified (Mt. 5:14-16).