Wednesday, November 5, 2008

SLAVERY Word-Study Devotional

Only when we are "captured" can we fully understand and appreciate this word study. This study is worth your time to read and apply to your Christianity. -BJ


15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. (Romans 6:15-19 NKJV)

Most people think negatively toward the word, “slavery.” But it is this very word used in the New Testament to describe a believer’s “positive” attachment to his God. It is first used to describe our old attachment to “sin leading to death” (Rms. 6:16), but when you “obeyed from the heart” (v. 17) the pages of the New Covenant—the Gospel—“you became slaves of righteousness” (v. 18). Notice the continued use of the word, “slaves.” Remember, also, that he is speaking “to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints” (1:7).

“Slave” in Greek is doulos (Strong’s #1401), which basically means “to be in subjection.” (It comes from deo = to bind; be in bonds; #1210). A slave was one whose attachment to his master was greater than his attachment to anything else, including his own life. He lived in total submission to his master’s will.

To denote the strength of this word, the New American Standard Bible sometimes translates it as, “bondslave.” It is the word Mary used when she obeyed the angel’s announcement of her virgin birth of the Messiah (Lk. 1:38, 48 NASB). Paul used it to describe Epaphras, “a bondslave of Jesus Christ,” (Col. 4:12 NASB) who labored “fervently…in prayers” (v. 12 NKJV) with a “great zeal” (v. 13 NKJV) for the Colossians that they may stay the course to the completion of the will of God. Peter used the words, “bondslaves of God” (1 Pet. 2:16 NASB) to guide believers’ thinking and actions under their local governing authorities. These honorable believers—and more!—bore the title as bondslaves of Christ, obediently attached to their Master and Savior to do His will, “that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21).

Have I described your “Christianity”? Look at the above again. Are you in bonds to Jesus? Are you attached to Him as Mary was to her conception of the Holy Child? Do you go about your day as bound to Jesus in slavery to His bidding, like Paul and Peter described and lived? Do you intercede for your church like Epaphras slaved fervently in prayer over his church in Colossae? Do you intercede for your governing authorities like Peter admonished? (cf. 1 Pet. 2:11-17)

Notice in the Romans passage, cited at the beginning, that we “became slaves of righteousness” (6:18). Well how do you do that? When does that happen? Paul says you must submit to it (Rms. 10:3f), meaning you get attached to Jesus and, therefore, get “saved” (10:9) from the law’s just verdict against your sin nature. So how do you get attached? Well, Romans 6:19 uses a human flesh illustration; Paul says to “present your members [i.e., your bodily attachments, functions, feelings, etc.] as slaves of righteousness.” (If you need more instruction as to what your “members” are and do, go to Colossians 3.)

The failure of the civilized, Western culture’s Christianity lies in its refusal to become slaves to Jesus. We don’t seem to “get it”—that we are enslaved to sin which is death, until we become enslaved into righteousness, which is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Slaves follow behind their Master. It is in this positional “train” that we are led “in triumph in Christ,” that we participate in diffusing “the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14) where we are led. May God help us to choose and enjoy His enslavement.

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