Monday, May 27, 2013

We are slaves of Christ, and God owns our body

We are not just servants of Jesus, not just bond-servants, but slaves. Yes, we are co-heirs, friends, and sons, but we are His slaves. Let's focus on that relationship for a minute.

John MacArthur:
Being a slave of Christ may be the best way to define a Christian. We are, as believers, slaves of Christ. You would never suspect that, however, from the language of Christianity. In contemporary Christianity the language is anything but slave language. It is about freedom. It is about liberation. It is about health, wealth, prosperity, finding your own fulfillment, fulfilling your own dream, finding your own purpose. We often hear that God loves you unconditionally and wants you to be all you want to be. He wants to fulfill every ambition, every desire, every hope, every dream. In fact, there are books being written about dreams as if they are gifts from God which God then having given them is bound to fulfill. Personal fulfillment, personal liberation, personal satisfaction, all bound up in an old term in evangelical Christianity, a personal relationship. How many times have we heard that the gospel offers people a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

What exactly does that mean? Satan has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and it’s not a very good one. Every living being has a personal relationship with the living God of one kind or another, leading to one end or another. ... But what exactly is our relationship to God? What is our relationship to Christ? How are we best to understand it? You do have a personal relationship to Jesus Christ, you are His slave. That’s putting it as simply as I can put it. ~Slaves for Christ
Few of us go so far as to re-align our thoughts with the fact that we are His slaves. Fewer of us would go even further to explore the full implications of that fact.

"But now, O you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand." (Isaiah 64:8)

"But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" (Romans 9:20)

"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness." (Romans 6:16-18).

"Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin." (John 8:34)

God made us. He owns not just our heart, and our mind, but our body. Ask Isaiah.

"at that time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the LORD said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush, (Isaiah 20:2-3).

God saw fit to use Isaiah's body AS the message He wanted to send to the people. Isaiah obeyed. We read in verse 2 the LORD said, and in verse 3 cut to three years later, Isaiah did. Did the LORD say, if you don't mind...please... I know this is embarrassing, but..." No. The Lord who is the Potter said to the clay, 'I formed you and now I want the vessel that is your body to be a sign. Naked.' Isaiah surrendered to God, and when the call came to do this thing, he obeyed. What a marvelous lesson in being a slave to righteousness. How would you like to be a walking naked billboard from God to everyone in your town?

We are slaves. Ask Job. God used his body, too. Satan charged Job in the presence of God of worshiping God only because God had put a hedge around Job. God told satan that he was allowed to test Job but not to touch his body. (Job 1:6-12). Satan took Job's property and children.

However Job remained steadfast so satan asked God for further access. This time the LORD said satan could touch his body. (Job 2:5-7). Job's body broke out in loathsome sores from head to toe. In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10).

God made us and will deal with us as He deems fit. Not just the mind, nor the heart, but the body. We are His slaves and He owns us. Ask Mary.

Luke 2:26-38 describes the scene where an obedient girl, a young virgin betrothed, was told that she will conceive a son by the Holy Spirit. In the day of Jesus and before, it was a mark of honor and duty for a woman to conceive a male child. The family must grow and the tribe must be maintained. It was a black mark on a woman not to have children, and worse, not to have boys, and the lack caused deep distress in the woman who was barren. (1 Samuel 1:10). Hannah, in 1 Samuel 1:2; Manoah's wife, in Judges 13:2-3; Sarai, in Genesis 11:30; and Elizabeth in Luke 1:36 all were women in disgrace because of their barrenness, but received news of their forthcoming child gladly. Not so Mary. Her situation was not a social blessing but a social disgrace, because she was not married. Yet she said,

"I am the Lord's slave," said Mary. "May it be done to me according to your word." (Holman Standard Christian Luke 1:38). Though the word is translated servant or bondservant in most of the other translations, in Greek it is doulos, slave. Mary knew that if the LORD wanted to use her body to instill a child by the Spirit, He would, and she would obey, no matter the social cost. Even 33 years later, she was still haunted by the stigma of uncertainty of proper birth, when the townspeople charged Jesus and said, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him." Mary's son, not Joseph's son, the proper way to declare birth genealogy. Mary knew this and she said, 'I am His slave, let it be done to me.' O, that we all could obey so gracefully! What a lesson for us.

The three examples go from the Lord's use of our body from superficial to deep. Isaiah walked naked. Job was beset with sores on his skin. Mary was used all the way to the interior of her body- her womb. We are His clay.

Once you think about how the LORD chooses to use us, it becomes clear that we do not own our body at all. Look at the verses in where He gives a blessing:

"You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days." (Exodus 23:25-25)

Here the LORD shows that he controls the wombs of the women and the bodies of the tribe by declaring healthy child-bearing, no illnesses, and healthy living until the number of days is fulfilled.

Herod was struck with worms. (Acts 12:23)

In John 9:1-3, a man had been blind since birth. He spent all his days, decades perhaps, blind, until the moment that the Potter should deem it the time to release him from blindness. Why did God use the man's body this way?

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."

We are slaves, through and through. Not just our mind and heart, but our body. We do not just 'serve' Him, but He bought us with His blood. Redeemed us, with His blood. Purchased us with His blood. (Revelation 5:9, Acts 20:28, 1 Corinthians 6:20). Slaves are bought, and we are.

He owns us and can do with us as He wills. May it be to our benefit and His glory that we accept this as Isaiah, Job, and Mary- in worshipful submission.

"I am the Lord's slave," said Mary. "May it be done to me according to your word."

‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42: 3-6)

11 comments:

  1. John 15:15 says: "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you."

    In the MacArthur Study Bible (2006 NAS), the study notes for John 14 and 15 states: "Just as Abraham was called the "friend of God" because he enjoyed extraordinary access to the mind of God through God's revelation to him which he believed, so also those who follow Christ are privileged with extraordinary revelation through the Messiah and Son of God and, believing, become "friends" of God also. It was for His "friends" that the Lord laid down His life.

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    1. Yes as I mentioned in the opening, we are co-heirs, friends and sons. But we are His slaves as well.

      Thank you for using scripture. But help me understand your thought. Are you saying we are not His slaves? That there is no component at all to that aspect of our relationship with Him? I'm not sure what you mean...please clarify a little more if you would be so kind

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  2. Being a subject of the King of kings is to be in subjection to His authority. Not a very "Positive" thing now is it. The Jesus that God sent is often overlooked and very often replaced by an imposter.

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  3. I'll try to recall that 'I am the Lord's slave' bit when speaking with a Roman Catholic about the "co-redemptrix" next time...

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  4. But, in John 15:15, Jesus Himself now calls believers as "friends" and not "slaves". It's from Jesus' own mouth that He said this. So, while we were (and ought to be slaves/servants), we are now considered Jesus' "friends". In the Greek, we have gone from "doulous" which means "servants" to "philous" which means "friends".

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      You're absolutely right, Jesus did say that. However there is more to the relationship. The Apostles called themselves slaves. We haven't "gone from" anything to anything, unless it is going from enemy of Jesus prior to salvation to non-enemy post salvation. We have many facets of our relationship with Christ, and a proper understanding of them is crucial. Here are two other essays to help clarify what I'm trying to get across. They are both very good. :)

      Thanks for the clarification...but I don't read anything in the OT nor the NT that says we have 'gone from slave to friend'. We ARE His friends but we are also His slaves. The word is use as such over and over. Here is a short study by LaRosa Johnson

      2. A word study on the Greek word doulos and its use in the New Testament Scriptures. We will walk through Scripture sampling its varying uses in the New Testament. We will then key in on a particular use of the word, as it pertains to the life of present day believers and their relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father.

      3. The basic word for slave in the New Testament is doulos δουλος #1401. A related term is δουλη, which is the word for a female slave. Related terms include: δουλευω, δουλοω, καταδουλοω, and others.

      4. Most English translations only translate this word as “slave” when it refers to the following: Actual slavery. Bondage to an inanimate object or reality (i.e. sin or righteousness). When slavery is personalized in the text, translators generally do not translate it as “slave.”

      5. The substitution of “bond-servant” or “servant” for “slave” is largely confined to Biblical translation and early American times, and is generally translated as slave in other Greek literature (BDAG). In other words, they’re trying to be politically correct. There are 6 Greek words for “servant” and δουλος is not one of them.

      6. Differences between slaves & servants: Servants were hired workers that were paid; slaves were not hired, but owned. Servants could quit if/when they desired; slaves could not. Servants could have more than one job; slaves solely worked for their master. LaRosa’s opinion: Not using “slave” causes the text to lose some of its power, forcefulness, and meaning.

      7. Greeks found their personal dignity in the fact that they were free, and able to do according to their own will. Slavery was a repugnant idea to them. In Greek religious literature, they never referred to themselves as slaved of their gods, instead they considered themselves to be friends (φιλος) to their gods. Slavery, then, involves the removal of human autonomy and is replaced with an alien will that takes precedence over one’s own.

      8. A slave to a Master (Matt. 8:9; 10:24*; 13:27; 1 Tim. 6:1; Titus 2:9; Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22).  A Slave to a Free Man (1 Cor. 7:21; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 6:8; Col. 3:11; Rev. 6:15; 13:16). A Slave in contrast to being a fellow Christian (Philemon 16).

      9. The Kenosis (Philippians 2:7). Washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:1ff, 16). Even as a Son to God the Father, He allowed the Father’s will to take precedence over His own, like a slave (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38).

      10. A title used by & of the Apostles to show their submission to Christ (Acts 4:29; 16:17; Rom. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Jas. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:1; Jude 1; Rev. 1:1). As a sign of submission and openness to serve their fellow believers (1 Cor. 9:19; 2 Cor. 4:5; Gal. 1:10; Eph. 6:6).

      11. Formerly a slave to sin and the flesh (John 8:34, 35; 2 Pet. 2:19). We were purchased by God to be His slaves (1 Cor. 7:21- 23). As slaves of God, we choose whether or not we will obey Him or our previous master (1 Pet. 2:16; Rom. 6).

      12. In being slaves to God, we have the best slave master possible because we are not only slaves, but we are called His sons (John 15:15; Gal. 4:7). Since we have a kind slave master in God, who loves us, let us live lives that are pleasing to Him.

      http://www.slideshare.net/larosa217/slaves-for-christ

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    2. Here is a good article from the Institute for Creation Research that explains it also--

      Slaves of Christ
      by Henry Morris, Ph.D. Institute for Creation Research

      "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Romans 6:22)

      There are several words translated "servants" in the New Testament, but the most common is doulos, as in our text, and its actual meaning is "bondservants," or "slaves." Its root meaning is to tie or bind and was commonly applied to the slaves in the Roman empire at the time of Christ.

      The apostle Paul had reminded the Roman Christians that they were the slaves of sin (Romans 6:17) before they had been saved, having yielded their members "servants to uncleanness and to iniquity" (v. 19). In Christ, however, "being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (v. 18). Those who are slaves to sin will ultimately receive the wages of sin, which is death (v. 23), but the wages (or "fruit") of righteousness is holiness and everlasting life, as Paul answers us in our text.

      Thus it is not a burden, but a high privilege to "become slaves to God." Paul even called himself, though an apostle, a "slave of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; etc.), and so did James, Peter, Jude, and John (James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1; Revelation 1:1). We are certainly no better than they, to say the least, so we also need to recognize that if we are genuine Christians, we are slaves of Christ. Since "ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men" (1 Corinthians 7:23), much less "slaves of sin," but of Christ.

      This means, of course, that we belong to Him, and He has the right to do as He wills with His own. We have been "bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20), and we owe Him full obedience. As a slave is expected to respond to the voice of his lord, so we must hear and obey His Word, without equivocation. "So now yield your members |slaves| to righteousness unto holiness" (Romans 6:19). HMM

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  5. Lately I have been reading the the OT and NT to learn more about the "Bride of Christ" and God's Bride as Israel because the analogy of his relationship with his people being likened as a husband to bride and just marital terms in general is hard for me to digest.

    Hosea 2:16 "In that day," declares the LORD, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master. '

    Psalm 45:11 "Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord."

    I find these versus sweetly fascinating but they completely relate to your affirmation that we always have the subordinate place in our relationship to God, no matter what level of intimacy. After Hosea redeemed his wife the dynamic of their marriage did not change, he was still Gomer's protector, provider and even more so her owner since he paid a slave's price for her. Perhaps her attitude/perception of the marriage changed for the better but she would still be subject to him. Likewise the king's bride in Psalm will inherit the privileges of a queen but is commanded to honor her husband as 'lord' for the rest of her life.


    After pondering on these versus the marital analogy seems more plausible and in alignment with God's authoritative nature. The popular and cushy "Jesus is my bf" sentiment doesn't sit well with me. Yes the relationship is like a marriage, but from the bible versus reads more like one with a dominant-submissive dynamic! It's not mushy lovely like popular Christian culture promotes it.

    Thanks for this informative article it really got me thinking!

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    1. Wow! What a wonderful comment you've shared. I love that you shared the bible verses, they also got me thinking. It does my heart so much good when someone takes what I've written, relates it to the bible and then lets me and others know in a comment how it affected their thinking. THANK YOU!!

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  6. This is sick. I am no one's slave.

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    1. Sure you are! You are either a slave to sin (satan) or a slave to righteousness (Jesus).

      "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" Romans 6:6.

      Your outrage suggests you're one of satan's. It is a joy to serve the Glorified and Resurrected master. We don't consider it "sick", but wonderful.

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