Thursday, November 17, 2016

You Gotta Serve Somebody

I know that the discussion of slavery makes some folks very uneasy.  Many good people, when discussing slavery, only hearken back to that dark time in our nation's history when slavery was law and a noble race of human beings were treated as sub-human.  But the truth is that slavery is more widespread globally today than it has ever been. Racial and cultural slavery stills exists around the world. Sexual slavery is a multi-billion dollar industry affecting almost every nation and culture across the globe.  I say all this so that you know that I have some understanding of the gravity of this issue.  

Perhaps that's why we in the American Church have avoided the use of the term "slave." There's a stigma attached to it. We've substituted some more sterile terms like servant.  But in reality and biblically speaking, when we turn from our sins and place our faith in the Lord Jesus, the bondage (eternal consequence) of sin in our lives is broken.  We are freed from the power of sin.  Then, we become slaves of God.  In Romans 6:22, the Greek renders us a "slaves to God."  Why is this important?  Because it is the Greek root word doulos, which is used over 100 times, in one form or another, in the New Testament and every time it means "slave."  Most English translations, will equivocate in some instances and use the word "servant."  So what difference does that make?  Well, in the first century Middle East, servants were much like modern domestic help.  They were free, they were often paid, and they could actually quit.  Slaves, on the other hand, belonged to their owners, they fulfilled what they were purchased to do, they were not paid, and they could not quit.  

John MacArthur has stated that "Jesus talked slave talk all the time."  For instance, in Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, No one can serve two . . . what?  "Masters!"  Yeah, that's right.  When you're a slave, you can't serve two masters.  You belong to one and to serve another is betrayal.  That's slave talk.  In Romans 10:9-10, Paul wrote, If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is . . . what?  "Lord!"  And what does a lord have command over? Slaves.  

Paul wrote in Romans 6:22 that we are "free from the power of sin and have become slaves to God."  Then in I Corinthians 6:20, he wrote, "Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,Who lives in you and was given to you by God?  You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price." 
When we feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, turn from our sins and to the Lord Jesus, His death on the cross is the price that was paid for us.  We are bought and paid for by the precious blood of Christ.  He owes us nothing else.  We are promised reward, but our service to Him should stem from a heart of gratitude for the salvation He purchased for us.  AND we can't quit.  Earlier in Romans 6, Paul wrote about why he was using the slavery illustration.  In v. 19, he wrote . . . Previously, you let yourselves to slaves to impurity and lawlessness which led ever deeper into sin.  Now, you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.    Note that underlined part.  When we submit to God as slaves to His will, He will make us holy as we commit to righteous living.  Just a baby is not born an adult, in the same way, those new in faith are not complete, mature nor righteous in the beginning.  But as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus as our LORD, we become more like Him

Even in 21st century America, everyone is enslaved to someone or something.  You can deny it, distract from it, or disengage those who point it out.  But because of our sin nature, we ALL are enslaved to something.  If you have never turned from your sins and turn toward the Lord Jesus in faith, you ARE a slave to your sin nature.  But when you confess your sinfulness and your inability to change on your own, then turn in faith and submission to the Lord Jesus, His Spirit comes to live within you.  This gives you an option.  You can yield to the sin nature or you can yield to the Spirit of Christ in you.  The only way for a slave to the sin nature to be set free is to accept the purchase/redemption that the Lord Jesus paid for you on the cross.  When you do, you get a different owner, one of Whom the apostle Paul wrote loves you even when you sin (Romans 5:8)  His plan is to use every situation, every experience, everything mountain top and valley to make you more like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29)  Would you trust Him today?  

Right now, whoever and wherever you are, would you turn from a life ruled by the sin nature and turn in faith and submission to the Lord Jesus?  If so, you can use this a model prayer to the heavenly Father:

God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to change that.  But I also know that's why You sent Jesus to die on the cross for Me.  His sacrifice paid the penalty for MY sins. On this day, I accept Him and His sacrifice so that my slavery to the sin nature can be broken.   And I accept my place as a slave to God, fully surrendered to Jesus as Lord.  Thank You, God, for saving me today!  

IF you prayed that prayer, contact me so that we can get you in touch with a church near you.  They will help you get off to a good start in your faith journey.  God bless!