There are many aspects of being one of the followers of Jesus, the Christ, that make us contradictions in the perspective of those who don’t live the way we do. Dead, yet alive. Seeking eternal life, yet accepting mortality. Sinners, but made holy. Evil, but made righteous.

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.

1 Peter 2:16

The most striking, seemingly contradictory aspect of Christian devotion is the idea of Christian freedom through slavery to God. Freedom is freedom, right? How can God promise us such a lofty gift as liberty while restricting personal conduct to such a strong degree?

I think that word, freedom, is the first obstacle to overcome in untangling this; freedom for me cannot intrude on freedom for you, at least within a mutual bound. The thief is not a sinner because he acquires goods but because in doing so he injures another person. The adulterer is not a sinner because he has intercourse with a woman but because the woman is not his wife. The world might make us free to do what we please, but if we live as if the outcome is of higher value than the cost we are sure to hurt people. That cannot be called freedom.

Our slavery, our supposed lack of freedom, comes from our commitment to ensuring the freedom of others. Not pursuing evil, but good. No truer freedom can be attained.

Ethan Kirl