Free! Free! Free! I Am Free!

Free! Free! Free! I Am Free!

I continue listening to The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797). In the midst of chapter seven the slave obtains his freedom. It was 1766.

His own description of his ecstasy jolted me into a joyful experience of my own freedom — my stunning manumission from the power of sin to God through the death of Christ. Here is his amazing description of his joy.

My imagination was all rapture as I flew to the Register Office. . . . I could scarcely believe I was awake. Heavens! Who could do justice to my feelings at this moment!

— Not conquering heroes themselves, in the midst of a triumph
— Not the tender mother who has just regained her long-lost infant, and presses it to her heart
— Not the weary hungry mariner, at the sight of the desired friendly port
— Not the lover, when he once more embraces his beloved mistress, after she had been ravished from his arms!

All within my breast was tumult, wildness, and delirium! My feet scarcely touched the ground, for they were winged with joy, and, like Elijah, as he rose to Heaven, they ‘were with lightning sped as I went on.’

Every one I met I told of my happiness, and blazed about the virtue of my amiable master and captain. (Olaudah Equiano. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The Africa, Written By Himself [Kindle Locations 1848-1855]).

When I read this, I felt my own amazing freedom. I have never been in human bondage as he was. But I was in worse — the horrible blinding, enslaving, damning power of sin. His amazing joy made me feel what I should feel.

  • “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

  • “The law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

  • “We are not children of the slave but of the free woman” (Galatians 4:31).

  • “For freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).

Think on your former slavery. Think on your freedom. Think on your Liberator (“the amiable virtue of my amiable master and captain”). Then let Olaudah, the former slave, give you words.


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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.