Recognize you are a slave in service of Christ

by Kyle
published November 16, 2012


Read More Looking Up


In what became one of the darkest stains on our history, Dred Scott, a slave, in 1850 sued his owner in the U.S. Supreme Court for his freedom and that of his wife and daughters. The court ruled Mr. Scott and his family could not go free, in part because, as a slave, he didn't even have the right to bring the case before the court in the first place. He was a slave and only counted as three-fifths of a person, not to mention that legally he wasn't even a citizen of the United States.

Wrong as it is for one man to own another, Mr. Scott seems to have been confused as to what rights a slave actually has; namely, none. That's what makes a slave a slave.

How often do we as Christians suffer from the same confusion?

Please let me make my case.

Paul uses a particular word in his writings 28 times. Often, he uses it to describe himself. In a few cases, he even uses it to describe Christ.

Most modern translations of the Bible translate this word from the Greek to English as "bond-servant." This is inspired by a sensitivity toward the politically correct since the better translation is "slave."

In Romans 1:1, 2 Corinthians 4:5, Galatians 1:10, Philippians 1:1, and Colossians 1:7, Paul - a free man and Roman citizen - described himself as a slave.

In Philippians 2:7, he even has the audacity to say the same of Jesus. In fact, he says, "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who ... emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave." This audacity only goes as far as what Jesus says of himself, though. In Matthew 20:28, he said, "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve."

Not only did Paul claim that Jesus came to be a slave for the sake of humanity, and not only did Paul claim to be Christ's slave in order to emulate his Master, but you are also supposed to be a slave to others and to Christ. Yes, you; a slave.

If this troubles you, praise God.

The fact of the matter is, you and I were not called to be people with any rights to speak of whatsoever. That's what a slave is. We are to do the will of our Master, no matter how inconvenient, no matter how "unfair."

In that light, we really don't have a lot of room to complain about our own rights. Our only purpose is to deliver the message we were given: Christ died and was raised again to redeem this world because He loves it.

Look at the way Paul defended his own rights: "Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep ... I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure." (2 Corinthians 11:24-25,27)

He didn't. He defended the Gospel.

Contrast that to how he treated others. In Philippians 2:3, he says, "with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves."

Here's the beauty in and redemption of that dark period in time in America when one man could own another: some men stood against it. The first people to stand against slavery in North America were Quakers from Germantown, Pa. They were joined by a host of other Christians to fight for the dignity and rights of others. They were finally joined by a Methodist general who, on April 9, 1865, accepted the surrender of the Confederate States of America, restored the Union and paved the way for the Thirteenth Amendment eight months later. It reads, in part, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist within the United States."

We as the church and as individual Christians (Christ's slaves) need desperately to stop worrying about our own rights and privileges and begin to be more concerned with those of others. Slaves, by definition don't have any to begin with.

The road to the Thirteenth Amendment is paved with the blood of men who gave up their rights for the sake of others. Both the earliest and the most influential of those men happened to be Christians. Their blood gave Dred Scott his freedom for the last two years of his life.

Will you become a slave so others can be free?

An Invitation

On Sunday, my church will officially ordain me as a pastor. This is a huge step in my ministry, and I would like you to attend the ordination service if you can make it. The service will be at 6 p.m. at Angelo Bible Church, 3506 Sherwood Way.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)

Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.