The Bible makes it clear that we were once slaves to sin, but through Christ we have been released (Rom. 6:6), set free (Gal. 5:1), delivered (1 Thess. 1:10), adopted (Rom. 8:15), and born again (1 Pet. 1:23).
The effective worker for God is the one who has given the past to Him and has accepted His power to work in the present and the future. In other words, those who have been delivered by Christ are able to be His slaves. If we don’t understand this truth, it may seem strange that deliverance leads to slavery, but it is as true as the sayings, “To be spiritually filled we must continually empty ourselves,” and, “The way to victory is constant surrender.”
Read Philippians 1:1, James 1:1, and 2 Peter 1:1. What did Paul, Timothy, James, and Simon Peter mean when they announced themselves the bondservants of God and Jesus Christ? How are we to understand these ideas for ourselves?
Usually bondservants, or slaves, would be owned by, and compelled to work under, a master. To work for the Master in the Christian sense is a totally voluntary choice. God loves us too much to force our will. When Timothy, James, and Simon Peter used these words, they were indicating their entire identification with Christ and His cause. They were declaring their unreserved service to Him as their Lord. They were renouncing their self-importance so that others would focus only upon Jesus. In this picture of slavery we see dedicated followers pledging their loyalty and devotion through selfless service.
Read John 8:34–36. What do these verses tell us about slavery to sin and the way to freedom?
Jesus’ hearers knew full well that slaves had no security. They could be sold at the whim of the master, while the son of the master was always secure in the household. Here Jesus uses the contemporary slave situation to impart a vital spiritual truth. If the Son of God makes you spiritually free from slavery to sin, you will be free indeed. It would be unusual for literal freed slaves to voluntarily place themselves back in bondage, but, spiritually, this is what happens when we are freed from the slavery to sin and become slaves of Christ(Romans 6:17-18). If we are free from the things that make us focus upon ourselves, we are free to consider others and what we have that can benefit them. Herein lies the key to a life of service.