“…live as God’s slaves…”
1 PETER 2:16
Does that term seem off-putting, offensive even? Peter here is helping to define our identity in Christ, but this distinctive carries a stigma with it. And that’s the point!
We’re in great company! In Romans and again in Titus, Paul called himself a slave. So did James as he began his epistle. And as he begins his second letter, Peter refers to himself as a slave. Epaphras is a “slave of Jesus Christ” according to Paul on Colossians.
We are not our own, we were bought with a price. 1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20
Remember Jesus teaching his disciples as they jockeyed for position?
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said,
“Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last,
and the servant of all.”
And again, when Jesus left heaven, he
“….emptied himself, and took on the very nature of a servant.”
From John McArthur:
If there is a slave, let me tell you something, there is a lord. If there is a lord, there is a master. If there’s a master, there’s a slave. You don’t call yourself a master if you don’t have a slave and you’re not a slave if you don’t have a master.
That’s why the New Testament never even bothers to defend the idea, as it were, of whether or not when you come to Christ He is your Lord. That is patently obvious. When you confess Jesus as Lord, you are at the same time confessing yourself as slave. There’s no other way to view it.
A slave is someone whose life belongs totally to someone else, absolute ownership, absolute control, absolute subjection, absolute obedience, absolute loyalty, absolute dependence. Slavery then was a social relationship between two persons where one had nothing, willed nothing and received nothing but what the master authorized, desired and provided.
Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee
But now that you have been set free from sin
and have become slaves of God,
the benefit you reap leads to holiness,
and the result is eternal life.
This Sunday, Erik Twisselmann’s text will be 1 Peter 2:13-17, showing how submitting to Christ enables us to be free to submit to every human authority as well as serving the family of believers, walking humbly before our God and the world.