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(via Wikimedia Commons)
by Tony Konvalin
Some may see this title and think I am going to speak to the government and its enslavement of the people through a plethora of unjust, unconstitutional and most importantly unbiblical laws. While that is a tempting subject with all that is going on around us that is not my intended direction. While all of the above may be true I want us to see that we are all slaves, it is just a matter of who we are slaves of.
Yes, God’s word tells us we are either slaves of righteousness or sin (Rom 6:16-23). Slaves of Christ or slaves of Satan. Now, our sinful nature does not like to see ourselves as slaves but Paul does not mince words in letting us know there is no in between; we are to see ourselves as either slaves of one or the other. Our slavery is not contingent on that which is around us as in our environment but that which has been changed, or not changed within us. Of course we will see the outworkings of this change, our inward disposition, and thus as the letters of 1 John and James make clear our actions and proclamations in life will reveal whose we are. They will reveal who is our master.
In 1 Cor 7:22-23 we see Paul explain how as a child of God we are called to be a slave of Christ. No matter how much our flesh seeks to be its own person, be autonomous, we as believers need to understand our true position with God is as a slave. It is by grace we are called out of our slavery to sin into slavery to the law of God because it is only in the law of God we find true liberty. What a joy it is to be called by God out of our sin to serve him and not the sin we previously so loved since to sin, let alone live in sin, is true slavery (John 8:34).
Now that we know we are slaves, at least I pray we see we are, we need to understand that the work of a slave is to obey his master. One who is enslaved to sin by his very nature willingly follows the world and thus will be a slave of it. The nature of one who is a slave to sin and not righteousness will be averse to the law of God, often adamantly so, and seek to do what they can to serve their master, sin.
Many decry the call to obey God’s commands as being legalistic and the antithesis of grace. However, James 1:25 speaks of the law of liberty but sadly many that profess Christ and cry out for liberty see God’s law as curtailing liberty rather than enlarging it as God’s word reveals. The issue that most miss when it comes to being obedient to God’s law is that to disobey God’s law is to lead one to be restrained, enslaved, by the consequences of the sin that ensues from staying from God’s perfect law. Thus, only obedience to God’s law brings true liberty, biblical liberty.
We that are the called of God need to live as the slave we are called to be, obedient. We need to seek to please the only master worth pleasing. Not to gain anything but merely for the pleasure of worshipping the King of kings and Lord of lords. We need to understand and grasp that God’s law is meant to bring true liberty. Man is notorious for seeking to set up his own kingdoms and laws but they all end in tyranny and slavery apart from being founded and grounded in the law of God. As obedient slaves of Christ we need to, no must, seek by His power to follow His word. Not just those portions we like, not just the words in red and not just those commands of Jesus found in the last 1/3 of God’s book. No we as slaves of the most high God need to seek to follow all of His word which takes effort, a lot of effort, but because our affections have been changed by the one we serve this effort is not burdensome and we as His adopted children will desire to serve our master.
Yes we are slaves and I for one am grateful I am a slave of Christ and have been called out of my slavery to sin and the world to serve Him. Not by my merit but by His grace. We are not called at the cross just to some place to spend eternity but to serve and obey our master in the here and now. We are called to make His glory known in all the world and that can only be done by seeing the Master's word as all sufficient and being obedient to that very same word.
What a joy it is to be a slave of Christ.