I close my book surprised by grace: god’s relentless pursuit of rebels with a story (not sure if this really happened or is simply parabolic) from Civil War days before America’s slaves were freed, about a northerner who went to a slave auction and purchased a young slave girl. As they walked away from the auction, the man turned to the girl and told her, “You’re free.”

With amazement she responded, “You mean, I’m free to do whatever I want?”

“Yes,” he said.

“And to say whatever I want to say?”

“Yes, anything.”

“And to be whatever I want to be?”

“Yep.”

“And even go wherever I want to go?”

“Yes,” he answered with a smile. “You’re free to go wherever you’d like.”

She looked at him intently and replied, “Then I will go with you.”

Some fear that grace-delivered, blood-bought, radical freedom (to do, say, and be whatever we want) will result in loveless license. But as the above story illustrates, redeeming unconditional love alone (not fear, not guilt, not shame) carries the power to compel heart-felt loyalty to the One who bought us (2 Corinthians 2:14).