Christ the Slave Master

Slavery was a bad deal, especially in America. At best it involved indentured servants who worked off a debt until freedom was bought. But for most, slavery was a life sentence with no freedoms, rights or much of any hope.

Slavery is not a term to be thrown around loosely, it is an all or nothing word. When Paul speaks in Romans 6 about a servant of sin or a servant of righteousness, the Greek word is not the word “servant” but rather the word “slave.” It could be English translators are afraid of the word “slave?”

Whatever the reason for the softening of the word (servants had it much better than slaves), Paul means a slave, one bound with no hope of release, a life-consuming role and obligation with all the trappings of slavery.

We’re fairly comfortable talking about sin that way! It is an evil master, attempting to kill you while granting the false face of pleasure. But righteousness is a slave-master?

Many read Romans 6 as some sort of suggestion, “Well, yeah, we should serve righteousness, but you know, grace and everything, we don’t really have to.”

You can’t really do that with the understanding that Paul is referring to slavery. Guess what happens when slaves decide not to do their work? There are no choices.

Now, I don’t think Christ is an evil slave-master, using us for His bidding by means of whip and chains. But I do believe Paul sees himself as bound to Christ in this sort of relationship where he gives his all to do his master’s will.

That’s what a slave is. Sin is an evil master that does beat us; Christ is a good Master, but will also chasten when needed, but always for our instruction not our destruction. We are His property, we’re bought with a price, we are not debtors to the flesh, but to the One who owns us.

Slavery to Christ, there is no better slavery to be in.

3 thoughts on “Christ the Slave Master”

  1. The ESV translation uses the word slave actually, perhaps you should consider a change of versions ;.)

  2. You are correct, the ESV uses “slave” more frequently, but they still don’t all the time. It is a weak point of the KJV, I will admit.

  3. Slavery to God is not real slavery…because there is no fear.

    Rom. 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

    It is a bit like saying “I’m a slave to freedom!” It is simply using a vessel that has negative connotations (because of sin) and filling it with righteousness instead.

    By the way, Jesus was a slave to God also:

    Ps. 40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
    7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
    8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

    The word “opened” in vs. 6 means “digged” and refers back to the practice of boring the ear of a servant who decided to remain with his master (Exodus 21:6).

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: