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Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:12 pm
by Jericho
For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 1Co 7:22 NKJV


Many translations of 1 Corinthians 7:22 read that we are Christ's slave. That hasn't sit quite well me because it implies we have no choice in the matter, because do we not accept Christ willingly? I've looked up the word for "slave" (doulos), and it can have two meanings:

I. a slave, bondman, man of servile condition
    A. a slave
    B. metaph., one who gives himself up to another's will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men
    C. devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests
II.a servant, attendant


There are a few versions that do read "servant" or "bondservant " instead of "slave". So which is it? I would think that "servant" is a more apt description because it implies choice, we voluntarily submitted ourselves to Christ, whereas a slave has no choice in the matter. Although I suppose a Calvinist might disagree with me.

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:31 am
by Exit40
Begs the question, was Christ a slave to our Father ? Didn't he 'willingly' do all the Father asked of him ? Is it a bad thing to want to serve someone you love ? In the past I have called myself a servant of the Lord. And that I am working on being a slave. Having the mind of Christ, and His loving heart, would be the way to accomplish that I think.

God Bless

David

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:04 am
by Jericho
Exit40 wrote:Begs the question, was Christ a slave to our Father ? Didn't he 'willingly' do all the Father asked of him ? Is it a bad thing to want to serve someone you love ? In the past I have called myself a servant of the Lord. And that I am working on being a slave. Having the mind of Christ, and His loving heart, would be the way to accomplish that I think.

God Bless

David


Hi David, good question. To me being a slave is involuntary, while a servant is voluntary. If God wanted slaves, he would force us to worship Him, but He gives us a choice. Otherwise it would be like forcing someone to love you, it's impossible. You could force them to go through the motions, but it wouldn't be in their heart.

Obviously Christ and God were one and in perfect agreement. You can say Christ may have had one moment of hesitation in the Garden of Gethsemane, not only because he would suffer and carry the weight of the sins of humanity, but for a brief period of time he would be cut off from the Father. Being part of the trinity that is something he never experienced before, and it must have been frightening. Nerveless, he still had a choice and he choose to do the will of the Father. That to me is the actions of a servant, not a slave.

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:35 am
by extravagantchristian
I would rather be his slave than servant because I don't want to have a choice.

If the choice is mine i might choose wrongly someday. I would prefer that he override my will forever.

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:44 pm
by Abiding in His Word
If we read the verses in context of Paul's replying to a question by the Corinthians, we might see it not necessarily as an admonition to be either slaves, servants, or bond-servants at all. Paul uses contrasts, metaphors, similes, analogies and language that is common to those he is ministering to in order to bring home the spiritual rather than the earthly or fleshly practices currently popular in that culture.

Both Jesus and Paul go to great lengths to break down the culturally induced barriers, hierarchies, distinctions, etc. in both attitudes and behaviors and to see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Consider:

    Those who are first shall be last

    The greatest among us shall be servants

    Which is greater...the one who reclines at table or the one who serves?

    Which is greater/better; Jew or Greek; slaves or free; male or female

    Outward circumcision or circumcision of the heart?

Both Jesus and Paul were considered radical in their teachings as they continually contrasted the cultural labels and distinctions with the desired spiritual counterparts that resulted in the transforming realization that we are all "one" in Christ. The reference in 1 Cor. 7 to slaves is intended to contrast the current carnal practices of slavery under earthly masters to the spiritual under our only spiritual master, Jesus. We see Paul's firm opposition to slavery when he admonishes the Corinthians they must not become slaves of man (1 Cor. 7:23) and reminds them that it was for freedom Christ came so they should not submit to a yoke of slavery.

My understanding is we are not to identify with slaves or slavery but have the attitude and behavior that Jesus gave us as "one who came to serve" rather than be served.

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:24 pm
by mark s
I don't see much functional difference. His way is so much better than my way, I simply want to do life His way. Without exception.

Jesus surrendered His will for the Fathers. He "emptied Himself". The highest calling I can have is to be completely surrendered to God. Call it slavery, servitude, or pragmatic. His way is simply best.

I'm happy to be a slave to Christ, and to righteousness. Now if only I can do that all the time!

I like the reference, I think to Epaphras, " . . . a servant of Christ on your behalf . . ." He brought the Gospel to Colosse. He served Christ, on their behalf, it's to say, I'm a servant of Jesus Christ, and He's assigned me to you. I serve Him, and His intent is that you benefit from my service.

Much love!
Mark

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:05 am
by Mark F
As free (men-women), I think we find it a hard pill to swallow to ever think of ourselves as a slave of Christ. Like it's beneath us. We treat Scripture too one dimensionally. The Bible explains what a believer is in so very many ways so all can understand, and a slave is one of them.

The slave is totally the master's, they are purchased, they are the responsibility of the master, to name just a few. Don't these things align with New Testament Scripture?

John MacArthur has a very informative sermon on this, I recommend this study for all Christians...

This is a link to the page at GTY that the sermon can be found. https://www.gty.org/library/resources/s ... 4?letter=S

MacArthur also wrote a book on this, it is actually a word study.... Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ. I have and read this as well.

I'm with Mark S on this, good post.

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:12 am
by Abiding in His Word
Mark F wrote:As free (men-women), I think we find it a hard pill to swallow to ever think of ourselves as a slave of Christ. Like it's beneath us. We treat Scripture too one dimensionally. The Bible explains what a believer is in so very many ways so all can understand, and a slave is one of them.


You are right, Mark F, that the Bible speaks us believers in many ways. But we cannot, imo, make blanket statements about slavery and identifying believers as slaves. It's essential in nearly every circumstance to examine the context of the use of the word slave. We also need to recognize the use of and the purpose of contrasts in scripture so as to arrive at a correct understanding.

Looking through scriptural history, we see God as the original abolitionist, if you will. From the time Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, to the Israelites' slavery in Egypt, to the period of the Exodus in the OT, God showed His people how to treat everyone with fairness, dignity, equality, and justice by regulating and setting boundaries. The focus of the laws pertaining to slaves and their treatment was freedom. God cautioned the Israelites to "Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there..." Deut. 24:18

The subject of slavery throughout the OT is too lengthy to delve into here, but Hebrews were to enforce an expiration date for those taken captive through wars; set free after 6 yrs. (Exodus 21:2) and at the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:40).

The NT, recognizing the prevalence of slavery among those in the early church, are reminded that "It was for freedom that Christ set us free;" and cautions against subjection in the yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)

With this history, background, and context in mind, we should understand why the term "slave/servant" might be odious to some; new believers and/or unbelievers. Additionally, when Paul calls himself a "bond-servant" for Christ, he also calls himself an apostle. He calls believers saints.

Jesus discarded the term slaves in favor of calling those he was teaching "friends" (Luke 12:4; John 15:12-15) We are "raised up with Him and seated us with Him in heavenly places..."; redeemed us and made us a "Holy people, a Royal Priesthood." (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9)

Gal 5:13  For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve (G1398) one another.

This verse reflects the very same message God taught the Israelites in Exodus. Freedom and service to one another.

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:02 am
by shorttribber
Jericho wrote:There are a few versions that do read "servant" or "bondservant " instead of "slave". So which is it? I would think that "servant" is a more apt description because it implies choice, we voluntarily submitted ourselves to Christ, whereas a slave has no choice in the matter. Although I suppose a Calvinist might disagree with me.


................(portion of message from Charles Spurgeon).................. But observe that sometimes the Hebrew servant, although free to go where he liked at the end of six years, would not go. He had married one of his master's female servants. He had children and, besides, was so attached to his master and his family that he preferred to stay with him. Now, as God did not wish the people to love slavery, but would teach them the nobility of liberty, He made this ordinance that a man's wish to remain in servitude should be attested by a somewhat painful rite—and He made it a law that this rite should be administered to him in public before the judges.

Lest a master should say the servant wished to be with him and then bored his ears by force—and so ensured his perpetual service—it was commanded that this boring of the ears should always be done in public before witnesses and the

judges. An awl was taken and the man's ears were fastened to the doorpost—and then after he must forever remain, though he might change his mind, since he had once deliberately chosen to serve his master.

Leaving, however, this outline of the meaning of this picturesque ceremony, I now want to use the passage in its spiritual meaning.

First, I shall have to remind you that in Psalm 40 our Savior speaks of Himself as having had His ears bored. Did you notice the expression in the 40th Psalm, "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire: My ears have You opened." The Hebrew says, "My ears have You dug." Christ's ears, then, were pierced so that He might from His own voluntary choice be the Servant of God forevermore.

................(portion of message from Charles Spurgeon).................. But observe that sometimes the Hebrew servant, although free to go where he liked at the end of six years, would not go. He had married one of his master's female servants. He had children and, besides, was so attached to his master and his family that he preferred to stay with him. Now, as God did not wish the people to love slavery, but would teach them the nobility of liberty, He made this ordinance that a man's wish to remain in servitude should be attested by a somewhat painful rite—and He made it a law that this rite should be administered to him in public before the judges.

Lest a master should say the servant wished to be with him and then bored his ears by force—and so ensured his perpetual service—it was commanded that this boring of the ears should always be done in public before witnesses and the

judges. An awl was taken and the man's ears were fastened to the doorpost—and then after he must forever remain, though he might change his mind, since he had once deliberately chosen to serve his master.

Leaving, however, this outline of the meaning of this picturesque ceremony, I now want to use the passage in its spiritual meaning.

First, I shall have to remind you that in Psalm 40 our Savior speaks of Himself as having had His ears bored. Did you notice the expression in the 40th Psalm, "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire: My ears have You opened." The Hebrew says, "My ears have You dug." Christ's ears, then, were pierced so that He might from His own voluntary choice be the Servant of God forevermore.

:a3: with both Marks also....I agree fully


:banana: My rejoicing is in being a Bond Servant of Christ :banana:

My Will is Insufficient for me, but His Grace and Will is.

extravagantchristian wrote:I would rather be his slave than servant because I don't want to have a choice.
If the choice is mine i might choose wrongly someday. I would prefer that he override my will forever.

:a3:

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:53 pm
by Jericho
Maybe I am in the minority here, but I see some contradictions:

Exit40 wrote:In the past I have called myself a servant of the Lord. And that I am working on being a slave.


extravagantchristian wrote:I would rather be his slave than servant because I don't want to have a choice.


mark s wrote:I'm happy to be a slave to Christ, and to righteousness.


If your "choosing" to become a slave your not a slave, because slaves have no choice. There is no "I" in slavery. And if we were merely just slaves then there is no such thing as free will, and were all predestined to serve Christ (or not). I think slavery and servitude are being misconstrued and used interchangeably here, but there is a distinct difference. Slavery is involuntarily, while servitude is a voluntarily choice.

The majority of instances in the Old Testament we think of as slavery, were actually indentured servitude. Some people became indentured servants to pay off debts or because they had no other way to provide for themselves. It wasn't always a permanent thing although, as shorttribber pointed out, in some instances servants pledged lifelong servitude to their masters by piercing their ear with an awl.

So which would be more special to God? Some who is forced to serve Him, or someone who freely serves Him? It's a hypothetical question, because I see no evidence that God forces people to serve Him. On the contrary, He gives us a choice. We can spend eternity with Him, or eternal separation from Him. To do so otherwise would be like trying to force someone to love you, which is impossible because true love by its very nature cannot be forced or coerced, otherwise it wouldn't be love.

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:53 pm
by extravagantchristian
Well He did foreknow us and predestined us to become His children. So maybe we are like slaves to God in the same way that children are like slaves to their parents.

Like if you adopted a baby. They don't have any choice, they have to belong to you, but (if you're a good parent) they're going to love you back and they're going to be glad that you adopted them.

I guess in that sense we really didn't CHOOSE Him but He CHOSE us, knowing that we would respond to His love.

Ephesians 1
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:32 am
by Exit40
Jericho wrote:If your "choosing" to become a slave your not a slave, because slaves have no choice.


A matter of semantics I suppose. I like the term indentured servant better.

Indentured servant definition: A person under contract to work for another person for a definite period of time, usually without pay but in exchange for free passage to a new country.

God Bless You

David

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:41 am
by shorttribber
Exit40 wrote:
Jericho wrote:If your "choosing" to become a slave your not a slave, because slaves have no choice.


A matter of semantics I suppose. I like the term indentured servant better.

Indentured servant definition: A person under contract to work for another person for a definite period of time, usually without pay but in exchange for free passage to a new country.

God Bless You

David

:a3: I agree completely, just truly a matter of semantics. I am a Free Slave to Christ, Free from Condemnation and Slavery to Sin.

I'm a Slave of God's Love! I Willfully Accept it!

Re: Are we Christ's slave or servant?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:28 pm
by david
If it comes down to Jesus or Paul, I choose Jesus.

John 15:15New King James Version (NKJV)

15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.


Matt. 12:48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”