“You also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead” (Romans 7:4).
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
“Care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
The ultimate question is not who you are but whose you are. Of course, many people think they are nobody’s slave. They dream of total independence. Like a jellyfish carried by the tides feels free because it isn’t fastened down with the bondage of barnacles.
But Jesus had a word for people who thought that way. He said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But they responded, “We . . . have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” So Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:32-34).
The Bible gives no reality to fallen humans who are ultimately self-determining. There is no autonomy in the fallen world. We are governed by sin or governed by God. “You are slaves of the one whom you obey. . . . When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. . . . But now . . . you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God” (Romans 6:16, 20, 22).
Most of the time we are free to do what we want. But we are not free to want what we ought. For that we need a new power based on a divine purchase. The power is God’s. Which is why the Bible says, “Thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart” (Romans 6:17). God is the one who may “grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
And the purchase that unleashes this power is the death of Christ. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And what price did Christ pay for those who trust him? “He obtained [them] with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
Now we are free indeed. Not to be autonomous, but to want what is good. A whole new way of life opens to us when the death of Christ becomes the death of our old self. Relationship with the living Christ replaces rules. And the freedom of fruit-bearing replaces the bondage of law. “You also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4).
Christ suffered and died that we might be set free from law and sin and belong to him. Here is where obedience ceases to be a burden and becomes the freedom of fruit-bearing. Remember, you are not your own. Whose will you be? If Christ’s, then come and belong.
*This is taken from John Piper’s book “The Passion of Jesus Christ,” which was later released under the name “50 Reasons Jesus Came to Die.” Please visit Desiring God’s Website for more gospel-centered resources from John Piper. You can also download a free PDF of “50 Reasons Jesus Came to Die” here.