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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Slavery is bad, right?
Date Posted: September 17, 2017

Romans 1:1 Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God.

Paul, Peter, James, and Jude all called themselves slaves/bondservants of Jesus Christ. Paul called Epaphras Jesus’ bondservant.

A slave of Jesus. I have often thought that being a slave was a bad thing. In fact, today’s society wants to completely wipe out the history of our nation in the belief that slavery was so heinous we can’t have statues or memorials or sites or memories of the Civil War, which wasn't only about slavery in America, but also states' rights.

Let’s be clear. Humans are not perfect. Humans have done thing in the past that we should remember so that we don’t do them again.

What is different Christ owning slaves and men owning slaves?

Slavery during Biblical times was the same as slavery during Colonial times and during the Antebellum South. I wish people would actually study something before passing judgement and spouting nonsense.

Do a study on the normal, average life of a slave before the Civil War and then after it. You will be truly surprised. Did you know that there were more negroes who owned slaves than white people who owned slaves in the State of Alabama before the war? Did you know that one field hand slave cost twice the average workers’ annual salary? Did you know that in Louisiana slaves sold crafts and food and people were required by law to purchase these crafts and foods so that the slaves could purchase their freedom?

After studying this a while, I realize just how much freedom there is in being a slave to Christ. Freedom to choose the path with Him being the light of my path and the Lamp to my feet. Freedom that decisions are so much simpler because I love Him and I want to please Him.

What do you think about being a slave to Christ?

I just love word studies. I find such interesting correlations and so much wisdom when I study words and their origins. It seems like a treasure trove when I dig into Greek and Hebrew.

The slave/master relationship is much more than just being a good slave or a worthless slave. There are more commands concerning the treatment of slaves than how slaves should act. The awesome responsibility is upon the Master, not the slave. How wonderful that is for us who trust in Jesus. It is not to say that the slave has no responsibility. In order to live free of chastisement, a slave must obey his master. Sometimes obedience is not easy because self-will seems to get in the way. But, when a slave understands the Master’s responsibility and protection, then obedience becomes like one’s own skin.

One law is particularly interesting...

Exodus 21:2 When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free paying nothing. 3If he comes in with his body, he shall go out with his body. If he was the husband of a wife, his wife shall go out with him. 4If his master gives him a wife, and she bears sons or daughters to him, the wife and her children shall belong to her master; and he shall go out with his body. 5 And if the slave truly says, I love my master, my wife and my children; I do not desire to go out free, 6 his master shall bring him to God, and one shall bring him to the door, or to the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.

Here we see that a slave has a choice to go free after 6 years of service, but if he loves his master and the wife given to him and the children God gave to him, his ear is pierced and he remains a slave forever. The key here is it is his choice. I have no desire to belabor a point, but how fascinating it is to understand how closely this correlates to our relationship with our LORD and Master. We, just as the slaves of the OT did, choose to align ourselves with God. We repent and deliberately bind ourselves, commit ourselves to living the kind of life that will please God in obedience. Only it isn’t because our spouses and children belong to God. It is because we know only He can save us.

I find that fascinating especially in light of the same thing in Deuteronomy 15:17 then you shall take an awl, and shall put it through his ear, and through the door, and he shall be your slave forever. And you shall do so to your slave-girl also.

In Exodus 21, we see that if a master strikes his slave and the slave dies, the slave will be avenged. If the slave's eye is lost or tooth is lost because of the strike, then the slave goes free from his bondage.

This indicates to me that the Master may chasten but severe punishment is out of the question. Brutality is a quality of humans. Just as when a prominent pastor stumbles and falls and news media trumpet to the world the sin of this sinner, it is because it is the unusual not the normal behavior of a pastor. This is why we see one instance when a slave was mistreated in the Old Testament (Sarai mistreating Hagar). It was the unusual, not the normal.

However, the point remains, the Master has the deepest responsibility.

Paul uses the word doulos -- G1401 δοῦλος pronounced doo'-los which means... a slave (literally or figuratively, involuntarily or voluntarily; frequently therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency): - bond (-man), servant. And that word has the root word deo G1210 δέω pronounced deh'-o which is a primary verb; to bind (in various applications, literally or figuratively): - bind, be in bonds, knit, tie, wind. See also G1163, G1189.

To me this is saying that the relationship is binding on both ends. We are bound to Jesus because we love Him and choose to be bound to Him forever. He is bound to us because He purchased us, He paid a price for us, redeeming us from the debt obligation we have according to the Law. We are knit together with Him. Isn't that the most beautiful image?

Why through the ear and then through the door?

Paul says how can they believe except they hear the Gospel? And Jesus said, "I am the Door. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” And in the Passover, the doorposts were painted with the blood of the innocent lambs.

In this picture painted in Deuteronomy, the door would be marked with the blood of the slave. Every covenant is cut with blood. It is life-binding, so the slave’s blood binds his pledge to his Master. That is a strong and deep commitment, indeed.

What a sermon in just a few words!

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and
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