Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Slaves to Christ, Not Servants.

The resounding theme that keeps coming back to me: Slave/Master. It has everything to do with the Gospel, justification, sanctificationm, decision making, marriage, parenting, politics, church function. "Hath God said?" YES HE HAS.

Slaves in the Greek/Roman world has no rights, no citizenship, no lawful recourse, no ownership of anything, no freedom, and couldn't be part of the military. They couldn't even give testimony as a witness in court. They were totally owned by their master. THIS is what we are to Christ: slaves. Not mere servants. We are slaves whom HE bought, whom HE owns, whom He has full authority over in every sense. This is what the Gospel is about.

MacArthur says in part:


"Well if you read the New Testament in its original text, you would come away stunned really by how different the original text is from any English version that you’ve ever read...whether King James, New King James, New American Standard, ESV, NIV and you can name all the rest. All of them virtually have found a way to mask something that is an absolutely critical element of truth. In fact, the word “slave” appears in the New Testament 130 times in the original text. You will find it once in the King James, once the Greek word “slave” is translated slave. You will find it translated “slave” a few other times in other texts, like the New King James text and even the New American Standard text, and it will be translated “slave” when, one, it refers to actual slavery, or two, it refers to some kind of bondage to an inanimate reality. But whenever it is personalized, the translators seem unwilling to translate it “slave.”

For example, in Matthew 6:24 Jesus said this, “No man can be a slave to two masters.” What does your Bible say? “No man can serve two masters.” The favorite word for slave is servant, favorite English word. Very often bondservant is used which tends to move in the right direction but is not exactly slave. You have a word used 130 times in the New Testament, you have other uses of that word with a preposition, sundoulos which means fellow slaves, used about a dozen times. You have the verb form used another approximately a dozen times. So you have at least 150 plus usages of just three of the words and there are others in the group with the root doul, d-o-u-l in English for doulos. There are about twenty established English translations of the New Testament, about twenty. Only one of them...only one of them always translates doulos slave, only one and it is a translation of the New Testament written by a formidable scholar in New Testament Greek who studied the original papyri, and things like that, by the name of E.J. Goodspeed. Have you ever heard of Goodspeed translation? Goodspeed is a well-known scholar. For fifteen years he was a pioneering professor of New Testament Greek at the University of Chicago. The Goodspeed translation always translates doulos as slave. And when you read it, it gives you an entire different sense of our relationship to Christ. You do have a personal relationship to Jesus Christ, you are His slave. That’s putting it as simply as I can put it."

"This word doulos in the Greek should never be translated anything but slave...never. Do you remember these words, Matthew 25:21? “Well done, good and faithful......,” that’s what you’ve read all your life. That is not the word for servant. That is not any of the six words for servant, that is doulos, well done, good and faithful slave."

"...this doulos, a kind of service which is not a matter of choice for the one who renders it, a kind of service which he has to perform whether he likes it or not. It describes one subject totally to an alien will, the will of the owner and in total and utter dependence on that owner. That’s what the word means. It is the word for slave."

Now, when you’re coming to James and Jude and the Apostle Paul and we could include our beloved Peter, 2 Peter 1, Simon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ, you’re talking about the elite. You’re talking about those at the top of the spiritual list and they happily and gladly and joyfully identified themselves as slaves of Christ and slaves of God.

Just a couple of other illustrations. Colossians 1:7 mentions Epaphras and then the NAS says, “Our beloved fellow bondservant.” It is in the Greek our sundoulos, our fellow slave, Epaphras. Further in chapter 4 verse 12, “Epaphras who is one of your number, a slave of Jesus Christ.” They not only were willing to take to themselves the title of being a slave, but they conferred it upon the most noble of other believers.

In 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 24, Paul is writing to Timothy and he’s writing about how pastors ought to conduct themselves and how they ought to minister in the church and serve in the church. And he says, in 2 timothy 2:24, “The Lord’s slave must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged with gentleness, correcting those who are in opposition that perhaps God may grant them repentance, leading to the knowledge of the truth.” Here those who teach and lead the church are identified as slaves. This is not some reference to the low-level of believers. What I’m trying to tell you is, the Apostles took this identification to themselves. The most noble authors of the New Testament took this signification to themselves. They conferred it upon the noblest of their brotherhood and they so labeled those who following them would be the leaders of the church. We are slaves of God and slaves of Jesus Christ.

The Revelation, verse 1, chapter 1 of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show to His slaves. This extends it beyond the New Testament era, beyond the Apostles, beyond those upon whom the Apostles conferred high honor, beyond those who followed the Apostles. Now we are extending this to the great body of people who will come and will read this great glorious revelation of the glory of Christ contained in this book. It is to His bondservants that this truth is to be communicated, as the NAS says, but the word is slaves.

Chapter 10 of this book of Revelation, verse 7, “In the days of the voice of the seventh angel when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished as He preached to His slaves, the prophets.” The prophets were His slaves in the past. People of the future are also His slaves. And it just continues to go on like that through the book of Revelation. The people of God are identified as slaves.

- MacArthur "Slaves for Christ"

So when you confess "Jesus is Master", as MacArthur points out in the sermon, you are necessarily claiming yourself as His slave. Not servant that was just hired and will be paid. If He is Master, then you are His slave. If you are in Christ, you belong to Him because He bought you. So, are you doing the will of the Master who has already spoken? Or are you arguing with Him? Are you deciding when it will be convenient to obey His commands? Are you baptized biblically? Are you striving to live a godly life? Are you proclaiming the Gospel? Are you submitting to your husband, wives? Are you men being godly leaders?

Well? Are you?

If not, then don't bother calling HIM "Lord". If your "Christian" life is about your freedom, your dreams, your future, your goals, your fulfillment, your happiness, then you are committing treason against the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Luk 6:46 "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?


Paul G said...

Hi Denise;
I just stumbled on your blog and hope you don’t mind me leaving a comment.

“Slaves to Christ, Not servants.”
This is just not true!

We who are born again believers in Christ are surely NOT slaves to Christ, but rather sons to Jesus, born of God and He is our Father.
A loving father never makes his sons to be slaves, and slaves have no inheritance of the father’s kingdom, but only his sons.
A slave does not know the business of his master, but a son knows the business of his father.
A slave obeys his master for fear of punishment, but a son obeys his father because the father loves his son.
But the Lord Jesus has made us sons and NOT slaves.

Denise said...


Thanks for stopping by.

MacArthur deals with your concerns in the sermon, so I really hope you go and read the entire sermon. Being a slave to Christ isn't bad, its good! As Creator, He owns us. He bought us with the highest price possible. And as Master, He is to be fully obeyed by His slaves whom HE bought, protects, provides and cares for. Are we His sons? Yes. But Scripture dictates the kind of relationship we have to God: slaves to the Master. "Master" = Lord or "kurios". To have a master, you have to have a slave.

Rom 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, YOU ARE SLAVES of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, YOU BECAME SLAVES of righteousness.

We who are in Christ were bought with a price and therefore belong to God; we are no longer our own, we belong to Another, as does our loyalty.

1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for YOU WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE. So glorify God in your body.

1Co 7:22 For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called IS A SLAVE OF CHRIST. 23 YOU WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE; do not become slaves of men.

Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. => "servant" there is doulos, SLAVE.

Please read the whole sermon Paul. Be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to become angry toward the Scripture that does proclaim these truths. The implications to the Lordship of the Lord affect how we live as professing Christians.

Paul G said...

Thanks Denise for your comment;
But there is a big difference between a slave and a son, and no, you cannot be both.

If we would be slaves to the Lord, then He surely would call us slaves and not sons, that is, because we are not born of Him, but we are born of Him, therefore He calls us beloved sons.

Behold what manner of love the father has given unto us that we should be called the sons of God.

Spurgeon and MacArthur are not always right, but our wonderful Lord and savior Jesus Christ is always right and He never fails.
Kind regards

seventh son said...

Great post!
This is a real slap-down to the flesh (mine included). Softening the true words of scripture tends to remove the offense that Christianity SHOULD be to the to the sinful nature.

Denise said...


You clearly haven't even studied the passages that call Jesus "Master" and Christians as "slaves". Your rejecting them and HIS position as Master over us as slaves is itself proving the whole point: you are denying the Lordship of the Lord AND Scripture. You will not have Him rule over you.

Paul, in all honesty, you therefore have no right to call Jesus "Lord" because you will not submit to the Master.

If Jesus Christ is not Master of your whole life, dictating how you will and will not live, how He will and will not save, whom He will and will not save, then Jesus isn't your Lord at all. You have just rejected the Gospel. See Romans 10:9-10.

Mike said...

There are 30 English translations of the Bible and all the translations except one translate "doulos" as servant. The translators were knowledgeable of the Greek language and they were led by the Spirit to translate the Scriptures. How come MacArthur says that they are wrong and he is right saying that Paul was a slave of Christ and not a servant of Christ (please read Rom. 1:1,Phil. 1:1, Tit.1:1, etc). MacArthur wants to prove his doctrine by making us slaves, without our free will to accept salvation,love and serve the Lord. Mike

Denise said...


Clearly you haven't searched the matter. The Greek word "doulos" ONLY means "slave".

Secondly in order for Jesus to be "Master", it necessitates "slaves".

You need to submit to the Word and to the Master who has dictated whom He will and will not save, how He will save, and when He will save. Salvation is by Him alone, on His terms alone. There's no such thing as "free will"; we are all born into the slavery of sin.

Joh 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh NOR THE WILL OF MAN, but of God.

Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.

Denise said...

One other thing. Why would it be deemed wrong to proclaim Christians as slaves to Christ? That is quite an odd view you have Mike. Its an honor to serve the Master Who bought us with the highest price possible,especially considering we were ILL-deserving of it to being with. The clay has no ability nor is in a position to dare tell the Potter what to do. Nor does the slave to the King.