Tag Archives: slave



“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh you will die but if, by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now, if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8:12-17.

What magical words! We are no longer slaves but sons!

We have a Father who is a perfect Dad – not one who disappoints us, who abuses or neglects us or one constantly judges or punishes us because of our immature behaviour. And we have His Spirit who lives in us, who reassures us that we are God’s children and who enables us to call out to our Daddy, “Abba. Pappa!’ because that is who God is to us.

Jesus came to earth primarily to reveal the Father. 

“I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do…I have revealed you to those you gave me out of the world…” John 17:4; 6.

He patiently taught His disciples and showed them by His works the true nature of God as their heavenly Father. The first message He gave to Mary for His disciples after His resurrection was startling, to say the least!

“Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” John 20:17.

The implications are huge! Not only have we been given the right to be called children of God, but we are also on the same level of sonship as Jesus is. Whatever privileges he enjoyed as God’s son are now ours because we is His brothers and sisters.

“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.

“Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:10, 11.

Wow! Imagine that! There is no God like our God. What grace that we should be called children of God, and even more than that, that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters! This means that God has the same love for us that He has for His Son. We enjoy the same status and privileges that Jesus enjoys. We have been raised with Him and seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6); we share His inheritance – His nature (2 Peter 1:3, 4) and we will reign with Him in His eternal kingdom.

“But aren’t you being presumptuous?” you ask. Certainly not if I am simply repeating what God’s word says.

But there is a condition. God’s grace has freed us from the penalty of our sin. He has removed our guilt and re-established us in His family as His sons and daughters. He has given us His Spirit as our Helper. “Now,” says Paul, “you have an obligation to live the life He has freed you to live. No more selfish indulging!”

If we do not respond to God’s grace by putting our sinful ways to death with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will perish just as surely as though we were never rescued and restored to our place in the family of God. Without the evidence of a changed heart and new life, what we claim is nothing but empty words.

Bottom line – only those who are led by the Spirit are the children of God. Are you one of God’s children?


THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



“Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognised as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. We know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” Romans 7:13-17.

The path of understanding how helpless we are without the Lord Jesus Christ is quite a tortuous one. Paul was obviously aware of his own spiritual journey from thinking that his law-keeping efforts were quite successful to realising that he fell very far short of God’s standards when he was honest enough to evaluate himself against the inward requirements of the law.

Paul came to realise that the law of God was only a measure, like a ruler, which accurately measured us against God’s holy standards. Therefore, the law had no power to do anything else but show him whether his life measured up or not. Therefore ,the law had no power to kill him. It only showed him whether he was worthy of death or not.

Sin is a factor of human life, but different religions define sin in different ways. For most, sin is defined by the values people attribute to their gods. If we keep in mind that people who reject the one true God create gods in their own image, the character and requirements of their gods depends on how they want to live their lives…which, of course, accurately reflects Adam’s rejection of his Creator in the beginning.

Satan offered him the alternative; you don’t have to obey God because He is short-changing you, keeping you from partaking of the fruit of that one tree. If you listen to me, you can make your own rules. However, Satan did not tell him to read the small print, the part that said, “If you follow my way, you will be my slave. You won’t really be free because you will be in my power and I will see to it that you utterly destroy yourself!” So, Adam fell for the devil’s little scheme and lost the freedom he had, to become a slave of sin.

God’s standard did not change. What changed was Adam’s ability to live up to it because his Helper, the Holy Spirit, had left him. He was on his own and helpless, like an insect caught in a spider’s web. The more he struggled, the more he became entangled in its death grip. He knew what was right because God’s law was written within his conscience, but he could not do anything about it.

All the law could do was to show him how far away from God’s ways he really was. Like the insect in the spider’s web, he could see the big wide world out there but he was powerless to get out of the web and fly free as he was created to do. Release from the silk’s sticky grip could only come if someone intervened and set him free.

A battle raged within him. He knew what was right because his conscience spoke loud and clear, but he could not do what was right because his natural bent towards sin was too strong. Like a bowling wood, he always veered off the straight path towards satisfying the demands of his selfish nature. He could neither silence his conscience by defending himself, nor appease it by living the right way. The very fact that his conscience accused him was an indication that he knew and agreed with what was right.

Guilt and self-loathing tormented him. But most of all, he was in despair because no amount of law-keeping could undo his past or give him hope for his future. Like the insect, he could only wait to be devoured. The same law that showed him how holy God is, would judge him and condemn him to eternal death. His problem was on the inside and no amount of trying to do good things would change his heart.

That’s the problem with man-made religions. Every ritual people perform, every regulation they adhere to cannot change their hearts. Washing their bodies, wearing special garments, eating or not eating certain foods, offering animal sacrifices, putting food in front of idols, bowing down to wood or stone, being nice to animals – are all in vain because none of these things can pay the debt of sin or change the heart.


THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



Most of us know that SOS is a distress call, but for me it means something far more important than that.

Slave, Orphan or Son?

For most of my life as a believer in Jesus, I did not know that I had the mind of a slave and an orphan, not a son (or daughter). How tragic that there are many like me who live like slaves and orphans! We do not know that God has adopted us into His family and that we are now beloved sons and daughters of the Most High God.

Why are we ignorant of this important fact of our relationship with the Father? Is it perhaps because one of the central themes of the New Testament has been made peripheral. We have shifted the focus from what God has done in Christ for all eternity to what we think He has done for us now. What I mean by this is that we have obscured God’s eternal purpose for humanity by believing the lie that God wants us to be healthy, rich and famous now.

The message of salvation for the most part has been reduced to “come to Jesus. He will forgive your sins so that you can go to heaven when you die.” This leaves would-be believers thinking that they can continue to live as they always have, with the added benefit of a passport to heaven.

What the Bible actually says is a far cry from what many of us have been taught and what we believe. Why did Jesus come to earth? Many will reply, “To save us from our sins,” and they would not be wrong. However there is much more to His coming than just dying for our sins.

I believe that there are three main reasons why He came and everything He did falls under one of them. He came to reveal the Father, to reconcile us to the Father and to take us to the Father. The Apostle John got it right! After years of study, prayer and meditation, he wrote the Gospel of John, which the early church fathers called “the spiritual gospel”. It was his purpose to present Jesus to his readers as the Son of God.

John begins his story at the same point as Moses did in Genesis 1 – “In the beginning…” Just as God was in the beginning, so Jesus was with the Father in the beginning, fully involved in the work of creation with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He revealed Himself throughout the Old Testament era through His Word and His works but the people did not understand Him. Then He came in the flesh to be the perfect expression and revelation of the Father in a way that human beings can understand.

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

The disciples were puzzled by Jesus’ words:

If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him (John 14: 7).

Philip’s response reveals the depth of his misunderstanding.

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” (John 14:8-10a).

On the eve of His death, He prayed, “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of this world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word (John 17:6).

Why did Jesus come to reveal the Father? Throughout the history of God’s people, they had missed the heart of the Father. They needed to see Him in person, to hear Him, to watch Him, to recognise Him as their loving and perfect Father. They had so misunderstood who God was that their leaders killed Jesus for showing them the true nature of the Father. They knew God by many different names but the one name by which they did not know Him was “Father”. It was this name, representing the nature of God that Jesus came to reveal.

Tomorrow, we shall explore the implications of the name, Father, that was most precious to Jesus and by which He wanted us to know Him.

Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

Do you like this post? Then buy your own copy of my book, Learning to be a Disciple, which is also available from www.amazon.com or www.takealot.com in South Africa. You can also order a copy directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com

Watch this space!

My latest book, The Heartbeat of Holiness, will also soon be available.



Learning To Be A Son – Chapter Fourteen – A Tale Of Two Sons




Jesus told a story of a father and two sons. By telling parables, Jesus used one of the rabbinic teaching methods with great effect. “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” as it is known, is the third in a chain of three stories about lost things. The purpose of the parables was to alert the Pharisees to their bad attitude towards people whom they perceived as lower than themselves. They criticised Jesus for hobnobbing with “sinners”. Jesus insisted that it was sinners who needed Him more than the “righteous”.

The first two stories illustrated how friends and family rejoice on earth when lost property is found and how angels rejoiced in heaven when a lost sinner came home. Jesus’ third story was much closer to the bone. The father received his lost son with joy when he returned home after wasting his inheritance on worthless friends and riotous living, but the elder brother refused to share in the celebration.

The older brother did not realise that he was just as lost to the father as his younger brother. The younger son left home as a rebel, wasted his money, repented and returned home to beg for a place among the servants. His father received him with joy and reinstated him as a son. The older brother remained at home but served his father as a slave. He did not realise that he was a son and that he was always with his father to share in the father’s bounty.

The difference between the older and younger son was the difference of attitude. They were both sons, even though the younger son renounced his place in the family by his attitude and behaviour until he came to his senses. The older son was just as lost to the father, although he remained at home, because he acted and served like a slave.

Both sons had no fellowship with the father, the one because he ran away and the other because he had did not share the father’s heart.

Jesus did not apply the story as He did with many other parables. He left it open-ended for the Pharisees to reach their own conclusion. It is up to us as well to make up our minds which of the two sons represent us. Some of us are sons lost to the Father because we are in the far country. We live and act like orphans. Others of us are like the elder brother who did everything right but had no fellowship with the Father because he lived like a slave. We fear God’s punishment instead of being secure in the Father’s love.


The purpose of our journey through this book is to rediscover who we really are – God’s beloved sons and daughters, restored to the Father and to the family of God because of what Jesus did for us.

God has a purpose for us in His family which we discover through prayer – having fellowship with the Father so that we can get to know Him and so that we can learn what He wants to accomplish for His kingdom through us.

It is because we are His sons and daughters that we have access to Him and to all the resources He makes available to us in Christ and through the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will on earth and to re-establish His rule in the hearts of those who believe in and receive Jesus as Lord.

“Son” is our password to access everything we have in Christ. Outside of our family relationship with the Father we are not eligible for anything that belongs to Him and to His Son.

God is writing His big story and He has invited us to be a part of it if we allow Him to write our story through Him. Now that we have the “password”, let us use it wisely because, through it He has given us access to His World Wide Web.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:


Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?



Learning To Be A Son – Chapter Six – The Orphan Heart


The Orphan Heart

Another misconception that holds us back from enjoying the fullness of the Father’s love is “the orphan heart” which is the root of our slave mentality.

From the moment Adam and Eve declared independence, they became orphans; they lost their fellowship with the Father and were alienated from Him by fear. They became slaves at heart, not sons. The whole world is an “orphanage” of fatherless children. Adam’s sin was passed on to his descendants, leaving them slaves to the fear of punishment, and alone in the world to find their own way without a loving Father to provide, protect and guide them through life.

Many believers have the heart of an orphan. They have never understood that they have been restored to the Father as beloved sons and daughters. They are suspicious of God’s love and afraid of punishment. They still think that they must obey rules in order to stay in God’s good books.

Jack and Trisha Frost, (www.shilohplace.org), after they had made their own discovery of the damage of having an orphan heart, wrote an article entitled “From Slavery to Sonship” in which they presented a comparison between the heart of an orphan and the heart of a son. The heart of the issue is that true son has a name, a home and an inheritance whereas an orphan is nameless, homeless and has no inheritance; he focuses only on keeping the rules and lives in fear of punishment. A son lives in the security of his father’s love and acceptance, no matter what he does.

It was Jesus’ mission to reintroduce His people to the Father whom they did not know because He had been buried under a mound of rules and ritual. Jesus assured His disciples that He would not leave them as orphans (John 14:18). Just as He had lived in the full fellowship of the Father, so they too, through the Holy Spirit, would experience the Father’s presence and love which was the engine and energy of His life.

Our experience of our human fathers plays a vital role in the way we perceive God as our Father. We relate to God as our Father in the same way as we relate or related to our earthly fathers. We are either loved regardless of our performance, or we are judged and rejected if we do not live up to our fathers’ expectations or treated harshly by strict dicsiplinarians.

The way we perceive ourselves is based on the way our fathers treated us. If we were loved and accepted, we will be secure in God’s love. If we were judged and rejected, we will have an orphan heart – insecure and living in the fear of punishment. Our belief about the Father and His attitude towards us will be shaped by the attitude of our human fathers towards us and the way they treated us.

The clue to our belief about ourselves and our relationship with God is our emotions and the way we react to our everyday circumstances. If we feel “bad” about ourselves, it is in indication that we have an “orphan” heart. Anything that triggers bad feelings is a reminder of what was said or done to us in our formative years that influenced what we believe about ourselves and God.

How do we change the way we feel about ourselves that will reflect God’s love for us. Forgiveness is the first step, acknowledging and cancelling the debt our father owes us for treating us as anything less than a beloved son or daughter. This will free us from the hold that our human father’s failure has on us.

The second step is to identify the false beliefs we have about ourselves in the light of what God says about us in His word. When we come clean with God, acknowledging the lies that shape our self-awareness, He is able to speak the truth into those places where we judged ourselves and set us free from fear, guilt and shame and replace these emotions with His peace.

How do we know that we are true sons and daughters of God? Discipline! Hebrews 12 puts the hardships and trials we encounter in life in their correct perspective. They are neither attacks from the devil nor punishment from God. God has already punished Jesus for our sin and the sin of the whole world. God is treating us as sons. He permits hardships to test and strengthen our faith in and love for Him as our Father so that we may share His holiness.

When we keep looking at Jesus, He teaches us how to act and respond to adversity out of who we are as sons and not in reaction to those who mistreat us. By continually gazing at Jesus in His word, we are transformed from cringing slaves and insecure orphans into confident and trusting sons and daughters, allowing nothing to move us from our trust in Him because we are secure in His love.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

To order your 0wn copy of either book, contact

Toll free – 0800 990 914 (South Africa)


www.partridgepublishing.com/africa  or

+44 20 314 3997 (outside South Africa)

ISBN: Hardcover – 978-1-4828-0891-9                                                                                     Softcover 978-1-4828-0890-2                                                                                                              eBook 978-1-4828-0889-6

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