We Are Unworthy Slaves
By Andrew Sandala
'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have
done.' (Luke 17:10)
"Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for
obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting
in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?" (Romans 6:16) then jump
to v.18, which says "And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of
righteousness.".... "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we
might become the righteousness of God in Him " (2Corinthians 5:21)
I thought the bible says we have not received a spirit of slavery, but of
adoption as sons ? (Romans 8:15)
Well, yes, not slaves in the literal sense because God is no slave driver,
but how do you explain being bound to serve one master for life with
absolute obedience? We are actually sons of God, but we are also enslaved to
His will, we are to submit to him with heart, soul and mind. I call that
enslavement and so does the bible. We often speak of people being enslaved
by cigarettes, tobacco, drugs etc. The very act of being a bound to serve
Christ with body, soul and mind is termed as slavery. Paul said "For me, to
live is Christ, and to die is gain " (Philippians 1:21) I would appear as
though Paul was saying, 'For as long as I am alive I have and must labor for
Christ, But if I die then I will be free to rest.'
From what history tells us, slaves were people who where bought or sold for
the purpose of serving. They were personal property, they belonged to
whoever bought them. In most cases slaves did all the hard labor and given
insufficient wages, if any at all. They were restricted in most things and
were not entitled to much. The slave was known for only one thing, service
to the master.
"For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Jesus Christ but of their own
appetites" (Romans 16:18)
One can not serve two masters at a time. You either serve this one or the
other. When Christ is Lord of our lives, we ought to yield to His governance
for His Lordship is above all powers. Our loyalty to Him should be unwavering.
Bought with a price
"For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."
Much like the slave, we are bound to one MASTER and He owns us, having
purchased us for Himself. "The Holy spirit has made you overseers, to
shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts
20:28). .."Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men
from every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9)
Set apart :"The LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself" (Psalm 4:3).
Joseph, in Genesis 39:1-4, was sold to Potiphar as a slave. When God blessed
him, his master made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he
put in his hand. Joseph was uplifted, he was not just another servant, he
was set apart for honorable duties in Potiphar's house. Paul said of
himself, "a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart
for the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1). Like Paul, we have been set apart for
the work of righteousness and for the Master's use only. A "bond-servant"
is a slave who stood with his master because he wanted to. He was free to leave
but chose to stay with his master because of his benevolent care. Most humans put
things aside for a particular use. You have the lovely china dishes you
serve food to visitors on, and you have the tools that you use in the
garden, you store them in the shed and you don't bother to clean them
thoroughly. There are many types of dishes in the house, but a particular
type is use to serve those we consider honorable. Those dishes have been set
apart for noble use or honorable use. "in a large house there are not only
gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and
some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if a man cleanses himself
from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the
Master, prepared for every good work" (2Timothy 2:20-21)
Prepared for every good work:- No soldier in active service entangles
himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who
enlisted him as a soldier (2Timothy 2:4). "be ready in season and out of
season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction."
Obedience - we have done only that which we ought to have done
Before we go on, lets us see if we can rephrase the statement above just for a
little more clarity.
1. we have done only that which we were required to do
2. we have done only that which we were expected to do
The Master - slave relationship is usually one way, the master gives his
requirements and the slave meets them. The Master gives the responsibilities
and the slave carries them out. The most important rule the slave has to
remember is do the will of the Master.
"Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters" (Ephesians
6:5). Any good slave will never forget this because in order to please the
master you need to do exactly as he says. Jesus asked "Why do you call Me
'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46).
We have been given a very good example of Jesus where obedience is concerned.
The bible says he learned obedience
from the things which he suffered (Hebrews 5:8) and in (Philippians 2:8),
the bible reads "He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of
death, even death on a cross." Let's not forget that Jesus came for one
purpose, to redeem man by dying on the cross. Was He instructed? Yes, who
was He being obedient to?, He said "My food is to do the will of Him who
sent Me, and to accomplish His work " (John 4:34). That sounds to me, like
Jesus was saying , "I am bound to do the will of God and no one else". Jesus
was set apart to do the will of God. The reason why God gave the Israelites
Laws was so they could Obey them, does He desire for us any different? No,
He requires us today to submit to Him as is recorded in James 4:7 . "If we
believe in Him, we will obey Him, and just as it was reckoned to Abraham as
righteousness when He believed" (Romans 4:3), it will be the same for us.
Jesus taught us to pray saying 'let Thy will be done, on earth as it is in
heaven' (Matthew 6:9)
The first and foremost obligation of a believer is to do Jesus will, If we
call ourselves true Christians, we are bound to serve Jesus and Jesus alone.
Paul said "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to
live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me" (Philippians
1:21-22). For us to really achieve all that Christianity requires of us, we
have to remain in Christ, but dear friends there is no one who remains in
Christ and is not fruitful. In John 15:2, Jesus said " Every branch in Me
that does not bear fruit, He (God) takes away; and in V.5 He said "Apart
from Me you can do nothing." We can only bear fruit in Him and He gives us a
warning, 'every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away.' Jesus
was showing us in (John 15:5) that we are bound to Him, without Him we can
do nothing, and that is why we have to serve and not expect any praises,
thank you or pats on the back, Jesus receives the glory. We are unworthy
slaves, yet the fruits of
our labor has a great reward in heaven from our Master and not men. We
should always seek to please God , who is, in actual fact, our righteousness.
The Masters Pleasure and glory
"And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the
things that are pleasing to Him" (John 8:29). The bible says one of the
things that make up the Kingdom of God is righteousness and we are slave to
that, we are obliged to practice righteousness at all times, but we have to
be careful how, why and who we practice it before. Psalm 4:5 says, "Offer
the sacrifices of righteousness", but Matthew 6:1 says "Beware of practicing
your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no
reward with your Father who is in heaven." The bible is not saying don't be
righteous, It is saying don't practice it to be noticed by people. God is
the only person who should receive glory out of what we do for and in His
kingdom and it really pleases God when we are righteous because by being
righteous, we are glorifying God. "By this is My Father glorified, that you
bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples" (John 15:8).
Jesus said " Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave."
(Matthew 20:27). It is God's principle, humble your self and serve now and be
honored later. It is God's deep desire for us to reflect His righteousness
here on earth for His glory.
My prayer is that we may know our position in the Kingdom, what we have
become enslaved to, and what we mean to God, our obedience to Him and our
ministry to the world. When we know our place in God, we will know our
purpose in God. There is much to do and only the righteous can accomplish
the righteous work of the kingdom. We belong to God, to serve Him and please
Him for His use only. Start being useful to the Master and offer the
sacrifices of righteousness and trust in the Lord. (Psalm 4:5)
All scripture, unless otherwise mentioned, is taken from the New American
Friends - 1998
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