Monday, February 13, 2017
If we were the ones writing the scripture, we would likely use different words in some places. The word "slave" is a word that makes us uncomfortable. It brings to mind a dark moment in our own nation's history and it also makes us deal with the fact that slavery still exists in some parts of our 21st century world. We would just as soon for Paul to use another word to speak of himself and his relationship with Christ. He could have used "friend," or "disciple," or even "buddy." It is hard for us to think of our relationship with Christ as one where He is our Master and we are slaves.
Where slavery has existed in the world and where it exists now, the creed of the slave is, "I live to serve my master. I live to do the bidding of my master who has absolute authority and power over me, even the power of life and death." What is obviously true is the fact that this creed is not embraced voluntarily, but instead speaks of a lifestyle forced upon the slave under threat of punishment or death. It is never a life lived by choice. Coercion is the more appropriate reason.
However, as Paul uses the term as he does in the beginning of the letter to the Romans, a different kind of relationship is being lifted up. The creed of the slave of Christ is, "I live to serve my Master. I live to do the bidding of my Master to whom I give absolute authority and power over my life, even the power of life and death." Here is a relationship based not on coercion, but one based on choice. A disciple of Jesus chooses to serve Christ. While the idea of serving may still be an offensive thought to some, it must be recognized that we either choose to serve Christ, or we choose to serve the evil which exists in the world and is always seeking to undermine the good that He is seeking to do all around us. We are going to be a slave to one or the other.