“How can I say I’m free…
Have life abundantly…
Talk about having liberty…
But still be a prisoner?”
– Deon Kipping
This is what you call a paradox – a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that, when investigated or explained, may prove to be well founded or true.
In other words, it’s when an idea doesn’t make sense until you take a closer look.
For obvious reasons, the idea of having freedom is not ordinarily associated with being a prisoner. The words “freedom” and “prisoner” carry completely different connotations – when you say or hear them, they stir up feelings that are polar opposites.
One word brings to mind the image of running through a wide-open, flowery meadow on a blue-skied and sunny day without a care in the world…
…the other drops you into a dank, dreary, enclosed space with cold iron bars and a lingering sense of hopelessness.
How in the world can these two words, these two ideas, ever be compatible?
You may want to run that question by the apostle Paul. Paul had this silly notion that being a prisoner of Christ is the most freeing state of being there could ever be.
Before I delve into his logic, however, I feel the need to explain something, particularly for any skeptics out there. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all bound to or by something. All of us, for instance, are bound by space and time…outside of death, there’s simply no escaping it. And although not all of us follow them, in general, we are bound to rules and laws, whether they be the laws of nature, of a certain nation or government, or even those self-imposed boundaries that you yourself choose to live within.
Paul, being the brilliant scholar that he was, logically concluded that all of mankind is bound by something else, too…it’s called sin. It’s a cruel taskmaster, offering you a moment of pleasure all the while wrapping a chain around you and dragging you farther and farther into its dungeon…and ultimately to your death.
But Paul also concluded that Jesus Christ died on the cross to free us from this bondage and to offer us His gift of eternal life. In his overwhelming gratitude for being loosed from his own chains of sin, Paul frequently dubbed himself a “prisoner of Christ,” a seemingly shameful title that he bore with pride. It’s a title I personally believe that all those who have been freed by Jesus should embrace.
And as for those still bound by sin, you have a choice to make…do you remain bound by sin or choose freedom in Jesus? In essence, do you want a death sentence…or a life sentence?
Take your pick.
“Chained…to His will,
Tied…to His word,
He has my life,
I’m a prisoner of Christ”
– Deon Kipping
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on jesusthecenter.com
Featured Image by Denny Müller