Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Slave of Jesus Christ -- Paul Wasn't Worried about Being PC

My Mammaw adored her father. Her mother died when she was about 8 years old at the age of 51 from an aneurysm, and Mammaw was the youngest of the girls. There was one son younger than she, and he has his own story. Mammaw was spoiled. After her mother died, the older girls became mommas. One of her sister mommas drove a school bus that took her to school, and the other sister momma would take things to her or take her places as the need arose. Mammaw’s father was a quiet man much like my Pappaw (Mammaw’s husband). Her father and some of his siblings moved to Shreveport from Missouri. This is the Cook side of my family. My great grandfather’s family was abolitionists and participated in the Underground Railroad helping to free slaves from the South. One time I asked Mammaw about this information, and she said she thought they were crazy because they could’ve been killed. I guess it was a risk they felt was needed.

I know that slavery still exists. I’m not so naive as to think it doesn’t. Today the most dominant source of slavery is in the human trafficking aspect.

I finished reading Acts, and now I’ve become engrossed by Paul that I want to know more about his character in the Bible. Do you ever get like that when you read a book? Do you get so attached to the characters that when the book ends you’re grieve or are sad that they’re gone? I do. It’s probably silly, but it’s the reason I read, and the Bible is no exception. So, now I’ve moved onto Romans, and right off the bat someone new about Paul’s character is brought to light.

Paul calls himself a slave. The Greek word doulos is mistranslated in most Bibles as "servant" or "bond servant." A slave was owned, was bought for a price, received no wages, and could not quit. A servant could quit, got paid, and was a free person. Jesus Himself took the form of a slave (Php 2:7), and Paul reminded Christians that "you are not your own, for you were bought at a price" (1Co 6:19b-20). Holman Christian Standard Bible Study Notes

It may not be PC (politically correct) to think of yourself as a slave, but if we changed our thought process to reflect that concept that we are a slave of Jesus Christ, what would that look like? What would that sound like? The Bible refers to Jesus as Master from time to time, but fortunately we are blessed to have a gracious Master. I don’t know that I have any ancestors who were slaves. I know I have Native American and most likely some Jewish roots along with English. I don’t know if any of my ancestors owned slaves. I can’t account for what my ancestors did or did not do. In the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the definition of a slave is, Person totally responsible to and dependent upon another person. Further down the paragraph it’s written, Legally, a slave had no rights.” Are you living as if you are totally dependent on Jesus Christ? Are you submitting what you think are your rights to an almighty God? Being a slave means being submissive.

The thing about having Jesus as a Master is that he sets the captives free. In Luke 4:18, Jesus quotes Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Unlike Satan who roams seeking who can destroy, Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. He wants to replace the things that bind us, snare us, enslave us, keeps us in knots with something that is light. He wants to exchange our turmoil for rest. What kind of Master does that? He doesn’t treat us as his slave but as his child, and there are days that I just want him to take the burden off my heart and off my shoulders, so I never have to feel them again. 1 Peter says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” That’s the kind of Master I serve.

This whole slavery thing is quite the enigma when we put ourselves in the place of the slave at the Master’s feet. He purchased us with his life. He bought us out of a life we could not escape, a sentence we could not have reduced, and a life without hope. Unlike slaves in our history’s past, we can choose whether or not we are going to take him for our Master or whether or not we will choose to be forever bound to another. Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

So when Paul says he is, a slave of Jesus Christ in Romans 1, what is he really saying? For me, Paul is saying that he is bound to Christ and all the freedom and gifts that come in that relationship along with the hardships that come but not at the hands of Jesus Christ. Paul knows he owes his life, his eternity, his hope to the One who paid his debt. And you know what? Paul wasn’t the only one who called himself a slave of Jesus Christ. James, Peter and Jude claimed that position. The position of submissiveness.

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