Call me weird, but sometimes I really love oxymorons. Yes, the joining together of 2 seemingly opposite words or ideas. You know, like jumbo shrimp, virtual reality, same difference, and government intelligence. I don’t know why I love them – maybe I’m a contrarian at heart, but I just love getting a good chuckle out of some of them! Something I saw in a Facebook post the other day struck me as oxymoronic (I don’t know if that’s a word, but I’m making it one), but it didn’t make me laugh so much as it changed my perspective on a verse in the Bible that I’ve read a number of times.
The post was quoting part of a John Piper sermon given at the 2012 Passion Conference in which he was preaching from Romans 6:17-18, which says, ““Thanks be to God, that though you were slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart, having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of righteousness.” Piper goes on to point out that, “there are only two kinds of people in the world, biblically, slaves of sin and slaves or righteousness.” And then he poses the question, “so, what is freedom?” It’s a logical question. How can we be free if we’re slaves one way or the other? Isn’t that an oxymoron – a “free slave”? But that’s the beauty of our God. He can take 2 seemingly opposite words, and reconcile them for His glory!
Piper goes on to answer his own question by saying, “Freedom is being so in love with Christ that you do exactly what you want to do, and it accords with his will. Freedom is doing what you want to do, and not regretting it in a thousand years. Freedom is seeing and savoring the supremacy of Christ so intensely, that you are his, totally — that’s freedom.”
Who would have thought? We’re never more free, than when we are slaves to righteousness! Think of it this way…We’ve seen any number of shows or movies where someone saves another person’s life by pushing them out of the way of a speeding train, or fighting off the bad guys, or even taking a bullet for them. And inevitably, the person who was saved always says something to the effect of, “I owe you my life! I’m forever indebted to you!” When Christ saves us from the wages of our sin, and we truly realize what He has done for us – we can’t help but to want to live our lives serving Him. Not because we’re trying to earn His approval, but out of the gratitude for what He did for us on the cross!
The hymn writer Robert Robinson said it so beautifully in his hymn, “Come Thou Fount,” when he said, “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.” A fetter (in case you’re not sure), is a leg or ankle cuff used to keep prisoners or slaves from escaping. Robinson saw how beautiful God’s grace was, that he knew true freedom came in being bound to The Lord. Or, as Paul put it, a “slave to righteousness.”
So let me encourage you today to soak in the beauty of the grace of God that allows us to be completely free, by being bound to Him.