Tag Archives: slaves

ADDICTED TO RIGHTEOUSNESS!

ADDICTED TO RIGHTEOUSNESS!

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:15-18.

Another irrational argument! The first one – the more I sin, the more God’s grace is revealed! What a terrible misunderstanding! That one doesn’t hold water because I died with Christ when He died on the cross – symbolised by my baptism. Death set me free from sin to live a new life. It is up to me to live as though I were dead, and risen to a life without the ravages of sin.

The second one – shall I keep on sinning because I am no longer under the law? Since God’s grace has replaced the law, can I going on living any way I please because God’s grace has made provision for my sin and He will keep on forgiving me? Another terrible misunderstanding! To continue to live in sin isn’t just about doing what I like when I like; it’s about being the slave of the one I serve.

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:15-18.

When I serve sin, I am enslaved by it; my old selfish nature dictates what I do and, unfortunately, the consequences are part of the deal. Death! Sin is like a habit-forming drug. The more I sin, the more I want to sin, and the less able I am to resist gratifying the demands of my sinful nature. The more I fulfil my own lusts, the less appetite I have to love and obey God. My appetite is formed by whatever I eat.

Have you ever seen a child who feeds on junk food have an appetite for vegetables! Of course not. His appetite is developed by what he eats. The same applies in the spiritual realm. If I continually feed my spirit on “junk food”, activities that gratify my selfish and fleshly appetites, I will lose my appetite for God.

God’s grace has freed me from slavery to sin. I am no longer under obligation to do what my old master demands because I have died to it and am alive to my new Master, Jesus Christ. He has provided forgiveness for living to please myself; He broke the power my old nature had over me and set me back on the path that leads to wholeness and eternal life.

“But,” you ask, “what’s all the fuss about sinning or not sinning anyway? Why can’t I keep living as I like because Jesus has provided forgiveness, and I will go to heaven when I die?” You don’t understand. God created man in His own image to resemble Him in His character and to be one with Him, in harmony with what He thinks and what He desires. It was in that state of perfection that man was fully human.

The moment the first pair broke their union with the Father through disobedience, they lost their connection with their source of life; they died spiritually, and began to die physically. What killed them? Sin. Sin dehumanised them. They were no longer fully human. We think that being human is being subject to weakness. “After all,” we argue, “I’m only human.” No, you are human only when you have been restored to fellowship with God and are being renewed in knowledge after the image of your Creator.

God cannot die because He cannot sin. The grave could not hold Jesus because He was God’s sinless lamb. God sacrificed His perfect Son not only to provide forgiveness but to restore our union with Him so that we can become fully human again. Why would we want to keep on sinning when sin will kill us all over again?

Instead of seeing God’s forgiveness as something that deprives us of the “pleasures” of sin, we need to view it as a lifeline that rescues us from the jaws of death and an open door to the true pleasures of living in His presence and being made fully human again. As we eat the bread of His Word instead of the junk food of sinful indulgence, our appetite for God and His ways will increase. Then, Paul says, we will be “slaves” to righteousness, addicted to doing what pleases our Father.

That’s an addiction I want to have. Don’t you?

Acknowledgement

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

SLAVES, YET FREE

SLAVES, YET FREE

Slaves, in reverent fear of God, submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. (1 Peter 2: 18-20)

Why did Peter expect such a huge thing of Christian slaves? Surely, they had the right, as human beings, to resist harsh treatment even if they were only slaves? In God’s sight, they had every right to be treated with dignity in the same way as any free person. Yet Peter was telling them to submit to their masters even if they were ill-treated. What good would that do? Would it not reinforce their masters’ attitude that it was okay to abuse them?

It all depends on from whose perspective you look at it. From the world’s point of view, it is perfectly in order to resist abuse and harsh treatment. Whether one goes on strike, joins a protest march or resorts to some form of retaliation, this is the way to go. One has to express one’s dissatisfaction in a way that hurts the employer so that he knows that his behaviour is not appreciated. Accepting to status quo without some sort of protest is considered weakness.

However, if look at it from God’s perspective, we must ask the question, ”In the end, who was the slave serving?” Since everything is about God, through God and for God, doing one’s job is about serving Him.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Col. 3:23-24)

Everything we do in life, the way we do it and the attitude we show towards those in authority over us reveals our attitude towards God. It’s all about Him. After all, He treats us according to His own nature and never in response to our good or bad attitudes. Yes, He disciplines us when we step out of line, but not to get even with us, but to purify us so that we can share His holiness.

However, there is a flipside to this kind of situation. The right thing for any slave or employee is to submit to the master/employer, good or bad. Masters are in charge and they choose the way that they will handle their staff but, and here’s the crunch, they are also accountable to God for the way they treat their underlings.

Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism. (Col. 3:25)

Slaves and employees are called to act like their Master, who never reacted to people the way they treated Him. He always responded out of who He was, the Son of God, not who they were – enemies. He was accountable to the Father for the right responses to people.

What a difference we could make in the world if we, as followers of Jesus, really got a hold of this principle! When we retaliate, we contribute to the chaos in the world by adding our sin to the sins of those who mistreat us. When we absorb the evil in ourselves by responding with humble submission, we put the cruel master to shame and stop the evil right there.

Paul dealt with this issue in the context of lawsuits. Corinthian believers were taking each other to heathen courts instead of settling disputes among themselves.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Cor, 6:7-9a)

One thing we must remember – the way an employer treats his employee is a revelation of what’s in his own heart; the way we respond is a revelation of ours! When you squeeze a lemon, lemon juice comes out! If we are truly the sons and daughters of God, we will behave like His children, free from the attitudes that drive the world.

Now that is true freedom!

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.

HARMONY IN THE WORKPLACE

HARMONY IN THE WORKPLACE

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favouritism (Eph. 6:5-9).

The third pair of interactive people on Paul’s list is slaves and masters. Although he mentions slaves first, and gives detailed instructions for the correct way to think and act as believing slaves, once again it is the master who should set the tone for honour and respect and faithful service from his slaves.

In Paul’s day, there were slaves and masters across the entire Roman Empire. Whenever an army conquered a nation, they brought back many of their vanquished foes as slaves. The unfortunate victims were sold in the slave market to the highest bidder and became the property of the slave-owner. Their owners treated them as goods and could do with them as they pleased.

Many slave-owners were cruel and heartless, breaking up families and selling off children and beating their slaves mercilessly for any and every infringement of their whims. Slaves had no recourse to justice. They were forced to submit to whatever treatment was meted out to them without protest.

It was important for believing slaves to get their thinking straight. They were not only to give faithful and loyal service to masters who treated them well, but also to those who mistreated them, period. They were now citizens of another kingdom where the right thing to do was to obey, whether they were treated well or not. They were serving, not a human master, but their Master, Jesus, who showed them what was right, even if they were treated unjustly.

Let’s examine this way of living a little more carefully. Why should slaves not rebel if they were treated harshly? For two reasons: firstly, if they reacted to cruelty with a bad attitude, they would be guilty of sin. As children of God, they were to maintain a good conscience before God.

Secondly, they were to remember that their real Master was Jesus, not some capricious and cruel earthly tyrant. The way they served was more important than who they served. If they kept their eye on Jesus, they would serve Him with excellence regardless of the way their masters treated them.

These instructions should also apply in any employer/employee situation because they are based on timeless principles. However, once again it is the one with greater responsibility and accountability who should set the tone for harmony in the workplace. It is far easier for an employee to give faithful and loyal service where the employer is reasonable and fair in his dealings with employees.

As always, an employer is a servant leader.  Regardless of his position and authority in the workplace, like the husband in the home, he is not to lord it over his employees but to lead by example.   Every worker deserves fair wages paid on time.  Every worker deserves to be treated with dignity and respect as a human being regardless of his station in life. This not about one person being better or better educated or qualified than another and therefore deserving of greater honour than another. This is about a team working together, each person making his/her contribution for the good of the team. When the team pulls together, everyone benefits.

It is not the job of the employee to be a man-pleaser, only working well when the employer’s eye is on him. He must remember that he is always in the presence of God. The Holy Spirit is in him, not to catch him out or judge him for poor performance but to enable him to be the best he can in the workplace.

Similarly, the employer also has a Master to whom he is accountable. When we remember and become aware of God in everything, our behaviour and attitudes will be tempered by the knowledge of His presence.

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.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a 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.

Learning To Be A Son – Chapter Five – Slaves or Sons?

CHAPTER FIVE

Slaves or Sons?

Since we have already established that the whole of humankind was intended to be the family of God and that every person is potentially a son or daughter of God, how do we move from potential to actual? The operative word is “faith”. New Testament writers like John and Paul understood what Jesus came to do. He came to reveal the true nature of the Father and to remove the barrier of sin that separated us from Him so that we can be restored to our rightful place as sons and daughters of God.

Jesus calls us to become His disciples, followers of our rabbi so that, in close and intimate association with Him, we can learn to be sons by watching, listening and imitating Him. When we respond to His call, we begin our journey with Him which will take us to the Father if we follow His way, obey His instructions and keep our eyes on our destination.

Sin, the great barrier between man and God, was the outcome of Adam’s disobedience to God’s instruction in the Garden of Eden. Sin destroyed the fellowship Adam and Eve had with God and left them dirty, diseased, deformed and dead – unable to connect with God because their nature had become corrupted. It was because of His great love that He had already formulated His plan to rescue us from the ravages of sin and adopt us once again into His family through the death of His Son.

Through the Holy Spirit, whom He sent on the Day of Pentecost, God confirmed the forgiveness Jesus bought by His death, and restored everyone who believes in Jesus to His family as His sons and daughters. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of adoption. He witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God and, through Him, we can address God as Abba, Father – a term of intimacy and endearment.

Those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God, not those who claim allegiance because they have signed a decision card or answered an altar call. It is because of our status as sons and daughters that we enjoy all the benefits of life in the family of God. This is our “password” to eternal life – not when we die but now, in fellowship with the Father and with the Son in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

We are still fallible human beings, with an old sinful nature that is vulnerable to temptation. Satan has been defeated but he is still active to deceive us when we listen to his lies. There still lurks in us the thought that we are his slaves under his power and that we are subject to punishment when we sin. We try to gain acceptance with the Father through keeping rules instead of living in the truth that Jesus fully paid our debt and that His cry on the cross, “It is finished!” meant exactly that.

Since we have not fully understood the implications of His death, we feel uncomfortable with God. Like the returning prodigal, we want to be treated as slaves and not fully accepted as sons.  But God has not given us the spirit of slavery which makes us afraid of Him. He has given us the Spirit of adoption. We are truly the sons and daughters of God, forgiven and fully accepted. Our response is to come out from the world and be separated to God. He has promised that He will be a Father to us in the truest sense of the word.

When we respond to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, we leave our old life behind and begin our journey with Him which will take us to the Father, learning from Him what a true son is like and being transformed into His image as we continue to abandon our old ways of thinking and return to His way.

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)

orders.africa@partridgepublishing.com

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

Check out my Blog site – www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com

 

 

Slaves, Yet Free

SLAVES, YET FREE

Slaves, in reverent fear of God, submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. (1 Peter 2: 18-20)

Why did Peter expect such a huge thing of Christian slaves? Surely they had the right, as human beings, to resist harsh treatment even if they were only slaves? In God’s sight they were human beings and had every right to be treated with dignity in the same way as any free person. Yet Peter was telling them to submit to their masters even if they were ill-treated. What good would that do? Would it not reinforce their masters’ attitude that it was okay to abuse them?

It all depends on from whose perspective you look at it. From the world’s point of view it is perfectly in order to resist abuse and harsh treatment. Whether one goes on strike, joins a protest march or resorts to some form of retaliation, this is the way to go. One has to express one’s dissatisfaction in a way that hurts the employer so that he knows that his behaviour is not appreciated. Accepting to status quo without some sort of protest is considered weakness.

But let’s look at it from God’s perspective. In the end, who was the slave serving? Since everything is about God, through God and for God, doing one’s job is about serving Him.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Col. 3:23-24)

Everything we do in life, the way we do it and the attitude we show towards those in authority over us in the end reveals our attitude towards God. It’s all about Him. After all, He treats us according to His own nature and never in response to our good or bad attitudes. Yes, He disciplines us when we step out of line, but not to get even with us. It’s to purify us so that we can share His holiness.

However, there is a flipside to this kind of situation. The right thing for any slave or employee is to submit to the master/employer, good or bad because it is the right thing to do. Masters are in charge and they choose the way that they will handle their staff but . . . , and here’s the crunch, they are also accountable to God for the way they treat their underlings.

Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism. (Col. 3:25)

Slaves and employees are called to act like their Master, who never reacted to people the way they treated Him. He always responded out of who He was, the Son of God, not who they were – enemies. He was accountable to the Father for the right responses to people.

What a difference we could make in the world if we, as followers of Jesus, really got a hold of this principle! When we retaliate, we contribute to the chaos in the world by adding our sin to the sins of those who mistreat us. When we absorb the evil in ourselves by responding with humble submission, we put the cruel master to shame and stop the evil right there.

Paul dealt with this issue in the context of lawsuits. Corinthian believers were taking each other to heathen courts instead of settling disputes among themselves.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Cor, 6:7-9a)

One thing we must remember – the way an employer treats his employee is a revelation of what’s in his own heart; the way we respond is a revelation of ours! When you squeeze a lemon, lemon juice comes out! If we are truly the sons and daughters of God, we will behave like His children.

Now that is true freedom!

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.