Voluntary Slavery

Sounds like an oxymoron, right? Voluntary slavery?

We think of slavery as something forced upon a resistant human being. The innocent victim is walking along minding his own business when a gang jumps out of the bushes and grabs him, carrying him off to some plantation or sweat shop where he is forced to work for nothing and confined against his will.

In the physical world of slavery, the children of slaves are born into that state. The same is true when it comes to Paul's description. We are born as slaves to sin, thanks to our first parents, Adam and Eve. In that we have no choice. In the physical world of slavery, there are only two ways out (other than death): escape and keep running for the rest of one's life, or have one's freedom purchased.

Jesus Christ paid the price of our ransom. Unlike the slave markets of the physical world, at this point the slave has a choice: stay with his current owner, or go with the man standing there with the price of emancipation in his scarred hands. Romans 6:13, 16 speaks about "offering" ourselves to one owner or the other.

Stay where you are, or change owners. Those are the choices. But like all wise choices it pays to look at the long-term benefits. Staying with the present owner leads to a living death. Walking off the block into the arms of this new owner, leads to living life as it was meant to be—here and in the hereafter.

But there is a crazy twist that takes place. The slaves on the block, you and me, see the emancipation papers in the hands of our God, but when grace truly does its work and gives us the faith and courage to step off the block, we don't grab and papers and run; rather we hand our ticket to freedom back to the One who bought it for us, throw ourselves at His feet, and offer ourselves in lifetime obedience and service.

"You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness" —Romans 6:18.

Fenced in by love is the greatest freedom of all.


  1. You elaborated on this analogy SO beautifully - and that last line is going to stick with me! "Fenced in by love is the greatest freedom of all." Wow.


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