“From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons.”
“You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 6 Who though He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. 8 He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!”
I had the privilege of attending a revival last week in which the guest pastor spoke about our position in Christ being that of a slave. As I have been contemplating his message, today I read the verses above – confirmation to go deeper on this subject to try and understand what it means to be a slave of Christ.
Slavery is viewed in modern society as a cultural sin, unfair and evil. For the purposes of this world, it has indeed been an evil that has existed in many cultures for the benefit of the rich and the economy, where man is devalued because he is esteemed by sinful man as less. In God’s sight, each soul is so precious, whether slave or free – and while He created us to be free, we are indeed simultaneously all slaves. It is, in fact, in our slavery to God that we find our greatest freedom. For the slavery in this world is founded on wickedness and a lust for power, where the slavery in Christ is founded upon righteousness, humility and selflessness.
We are all slaves to what we give permission to rule over us, slaves to habits, slaves to cravings, and ultimately all slaves of God. I can feel the cringing when I type that word. Slaves. Slaves. Slaves. That is what you are. It is uncomfortable and smacks in the face of political correctness. Our Savior, holding a lamb, calls us friend – not slaves, right? Yes, but He has also made us joint heirs – us – the lowest of the earth – recipients of an eternal bliss we did not deserve. Not typically how a slave-master would treat his slaves. But every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and in hell below. We bow because He is the only Worthy One, the owner of us all and of all we see. He is indeed our Master, whether or not that reality is recognized by the creation.
Paul over and over again reiterates in the epistles his slavitude in Christ. He does so in a rather boastful manner. He is not ashamed of being a slave for the Gospel, but fully submits himself to that role. A slave understands that he has a Master. He comprehends that He is not the one in charge, but the one who must give an account. This is at once humbling and the highest privilege one could conceive of. Imagine being a servant in the White House – how much more a servant in the Kingdom of God. A servant in God’s Kingdom is entrusted with the most precious gift of all – the Gospel. Are we serving our Master well in this regard?
A godly servant does not question the Master or become angry and throw a fit when he does not get his way – he understands his position and his greatest pleasure is serving the King. He does not question whether or not he should tithe – he understands it all belongs to God and he is obedient. This servant recognizes he was bought and does not deserve any kindness due to his transgression. He is under authority – ooh – another difficult, not politically correct word. In an age where children are rebellious to the authority of their parents and disregard the structure that God has set in place, being a servant under authority is indeed not popular today. Nonetheless, we are slaves under authority.
Most humbling of all to me, is that my King, my LORD, chose to become a slave. Think about that. When has a King chosen such a role? When He is righteous and knows that none of His slaves could ever pay what they owe their Master, He chose to serve. What an amazing God! May we joyously walk in our slavitude and the wonder that He grafts us in and calls us His children, too. In that glorious day, all slavery will be abolished – slavery to sin, slavery to man, slavery to the flesh – no more sin, no more brokenness – nothing to keep us from Him any longer. Glorious day, when our souls are finally set free.
Lord, forgive our pride and motivations that desire to be served rather than to serve. Thank you for demonstrating real servanthood, even though You are above all. Help us to glorify You by modeling to the world a holy, reverent walk with You. Amen.