Slaves of Christ

Christ purchased believers so that they can no longer claim to be their own

In the Scriptures, the most important example of a slave, however, is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Philippians 2:5-8, the Apostle Paul charges believers to have the same “mind” as that of Christ Jesus who, even though He was equal with God, took the form of a bondservant and was obedient to God to the point of a shameful, torturous death.

 

When the New Testament writers describe salvation under the figure of being “redeemed,” they are borrowing a metaphor from the first-century practice of slavery. Christ purchased believers so that they can no longer claim to be their own (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; Revelation 5:9.). As slaves of Christ, we identify Jesus as our Lord and Master (Romans 6:22; 10:9; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Peter 3:15).

A first-century slave belonged to his owner, lived as part of his master’s household, was equipped and trained to be used for the master’s purposes, and carried out the will of his lord alone. This is the way the New Testament exhorts believers to live and to think about themselves in the spiritual realm. In Romans 8:16, Paul teaches that everyone is a slave of the one whom we obey–either of God or of sin. This means that if we are not obeying God as His slaves, whatever we are doing, no matter how “good” that might be, it is sin, rebellion, and a misuse of the gift of righteousness and life and He has given us. Jesus taught that we can only serve one master, either money or God (Matthew 6:24; Luke16:13.). Peter tells us that since we were bought with such a costly price, we ought to live in obedience and fear the God who purchased us–the God and Father who will judge our every deed (1 Peter 1:17-19).

In the Scriptures, the most important example of a slave, however, is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Philippians 2:5-8, the Apostle Paul charges believers to have the same “mind” as that of Christ Jesus who, even though He was equal with God, took the form of a bondservant and was obedient to God to the point of a shameful, torturous death on a cross. Given Christ’s example of obedience, there is nothing in Scripture that God commands us to do or to relinquish that we could ever deem to be too much. We have our redeemed lives on this earth to learn to follow Him in obedience as we press on to glory.

For the redeemed, obedience is not an option. Christ’s commandments are not suggestions. Our actions, attitudes and desires must be submitted to Christ’s Lordship. We obey because we are His blood-bought servants. This perspective is foundational for obedience and our walk with Christ, but it is not the whole picture. We have to know who we are before we can know what to do or why we do it. That’s why the first foundation of obedience is our identity as a bondservant of Christ. Remembering who you are in Christ is essential to growth in obedience. Do you realize that you are a slave of Christ?

We have been purchased by Christ and literally redeemed out of slavery to sin to live as part of His Divine family. However, just because we are slaves of Christ, it does not follow that we always desire to be obedient servants. While we ought to always obey Christ, sometimes it doesn’t seem that important. Other times we might obey outwardly, but our hearts are far from obeying.

After we come ot a place of recognizing that we are bondservants of Jesus, the second essential thing we must give consideration to is our motivation–namely, why should we obey?

This stars with a deeper look at who we were before we were redeemed. We were dead in sin, completely separated from God, having no desire to please our Maker, and not even having the ability to please Him (Eph. 2:1-2; Rom. 8:6-8). We were ungrateful and fundamentally opposed to the God who graciously gave us life. We were profoundly depraved (Rom. 2:8; James 3:16).

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