Olly Olly Oxen Free


The origin of this term is largely unknown. “Olly Olly Oxen Free!” is shouted in many children’s games, such as Hide and Seek, to indicate that players can come out of hiding without losing the game. Some guesses as to the origin of the phrase all point to various phrases from Old English and German which all mean the same thing: “all who are out may come in without penalty.” The cross of Christ might be the biggest Olly Olly Oxen Free this world has ever seen.

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)

Sin separates us from God and the Scriptures tell us that our sins hide us from Him. This dates all the way back to when sin first entered the world.

“When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:8-9)

Because of their sin, they hid from the Lord, and God asked, “Where are you?” Is God asking that about you? Do you have sin that you are holding onto, sin you haven’t confessed to God? Your sin separates you and to choose your sin is to choose to walk off of God’s path. To sin is to hide from God, but it’s not a permanent concealment.

“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” (Luke 8:17)

Jesus wouldn’t have said this if there were no secret or hidden things. God is all-knowing, but we are still called to confess our sins to Him. Just like Adam and Eve, God knows where we are even when He asks, “Where are you?” The point is, it is up to us to use our free will and come out of hiding, out of the darkness of our sin and into His Light.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Jesus has sent out the Olly Olly Oxen Free—we can come out of hiding without penalty, for now. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us. If we wait until that day when all is revealed, if we still have hidden, unconfessed sins that will be revealed, it may be too late. Jesus said in John 12:36 to put your trust in the light “while there is still time.” The call has been sent out—come out of hiding without penalty. Confess your sins to the Lord and leave that darkness behind. Walk in His glorious Light while there is still time. Olly Olly Oxen Free!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.