Thursday, January 17, 2008

Did you know that this is a oft occuring word in the New Testament? Almost all English translations translate the Greek word for slave (doulos) as "servant," or "bondservant." But the real idea behind this word doulos is that of a slave in the Greco-Roman world.

Last night I heard a sermon from John 15:14-15: "You are My friends, if you do what I command you. 15 "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Here Jesus says to his disciples that they are his friends. Yet, even though we have been freed from the Law, we are still slaves to righteousness (Rom 6:15-23). In the New Testament, "believers are slaves of Christ and, furthermore, intimate slaves of Christ, because we have been told the things from God the Father (John 15:15). To be a true friend of God is to submit and obey all that He commands. To be a slave means to own nothing and to depend completely on one's master (cf. Rom 1:1; Jude 1:1).

Here is the point from the text: Jesus says that you are His friends if you obey Him and do ALL that He says. That means that you, in essence, are his slave. You are subservient to Him. You are obligated to obey Him in everything.

You see, a servant works for someone, but a slave is owned by someone. Furthermore, Jesus does not give you an opportunity to fulfill your dreams. Rather, he gives you an opportunity to live out obediently His divine will. When we think of being friends with God, let us not entertain for a moment that this gives us license to live however we want. Rather, those that have been bought out of the slave market of sin are now in the new slave market of righteousness where Christ is the Sovereign Lord.

After all, we have the greatest example of one who considered Himself a slave:

Philippians 2:5-8 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant (doulos), and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
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