From Slavery to Sin To Slavery to CHRIST
From Slavery to Sin to Slavery to Christ
There are many leaders today who claim to be servants. Who among the popular leaders can you really consider to be serving people and not their own ambition ?
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord JesusChrist”
What a statement ! James humility is evident in the way he dismisses all claims to special authorithy: Not the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not even James, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ. But all the way to a servant of God and of the Lord JesusChrist.
It is significant to note that James took his place as a slave both of God and of Jesus. He was owned by both therefore he belonged to both. Knowing that the Father and the Son are equal in deity, both fully God, James knew that obedience to one meant obedience to the other also.
Are you willing with James to be a servant of God and of the Lord JesusChrist ? Does this kind of servanthood really belong in our day and age ? It certainly does. For Christians, for those who walk in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth, servanthood as a way of life has never been canceled. No matter what the world may say, God is still searching for servants. He is always looking for men and women who are willing to pray, :Not my will, but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42)
The Greek word translated as servant is “doulos” which literally means a slave. When James penned his greeting to the Jewish believers, a slave was his owner’s property. His master granted him very few personal freedoms.
A slave’s will was not his own because his chief obligation in life was to obey his master and to do his master’s bidding. In one sense, the slave had no worries of his own for his master was completely responsible for his needs.
James was not the first Biblical character to think of himself as slave of God. Many of the Old Testament characters were God’s slaves.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Deuteronomy 9 :27)
Moses ( IKings 8:53, Malachi 4:4)
Caleb (Numbers 14:24)
Job (Job 1: 8)
Isaiah (Isaiah 20:3)
Amos (Amos 3:7)
Zechariah (Zechariah 1:6)
Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:25)
Jesus was described by Isaiah to be God’s servant in the Servant Songs ( Isaiah 42:1-9, 49:1-9. 50:4-10) and was even prophesied as a “Suffering Servant” (Isaiah 52:13-53:12).
Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy by coming to the world as God’s servant (Philippians 2)
Although He was God’s only Son, Jesus graciously submitted to the abuse of sinful men. When he was treated like a servant, He turned the other cheek.
On numerous occasions the disciples were puzzled by Jesus servant acts, servant word and servant deeds.
He had tried to settle their argument on who was first among them by being an example of humility, reminding them what it means to be a servant leader and by doing the ultimate act of a servant by sacrificing His life for others.
In John 13:12-14 Jesus set an example of being a servant leader by washing his disciple’s feet. Washing somebody’s feet is a very lowly job not fitting for a master to do..Jesus did this to instruct the disciples that they must be willing to take very lowly jobs in order to serve others. They must not be hesitant to do dirty jobs in serving others.
It wasn’t until after his resurrection that they too began living like servants of God.
Slavery to Sin
Those who are not Christ’s slaves are whether they know it or not enslaved to sin.
How does the Bible describe man’s slavery to sin ?
Those who have not yet trusted Christ as their personal Savior and Lord are :
Lost (Luke 19:10)
Condemned (John 3:18)
Under the wrath of God (John 3 :36)
Dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1 )
Childern of Disobedience (Ephesians 2:2 )
Blinded by Satan (2Corinthians 4:4)
This is a form of slavery from which only God can release.
Slavery to the Son
Like all men, James was once a slave to sin. For so long, perhaps for nearly thirty years, James did not fully understand or believe why Jesus came, He was sin’s prisoner in the dungeon of unbelief.
James change of masters may have taken place during those awesome moments when Christ appeared to His brother after the resurrection (I Corinthians 15:7) James was never the same again after he trusted in the risen Lord. Unbelief turned to faith, rejection to acceptance.
Everyone who has trusted Christ as Savior has been literally purchased by Christ through His death for us. When He becomes our personal Savior, we are no longer our own. The bondage of sin has been replaced by the bondage to the Savior.
Richard Fairbanks was a minister from the North during the days of slavery in the US. When he visited the South, he saw a beautiful mulatto slave girl brought to the auction block. Fairbanks heard the crude men say what they would do with her if they owned her. The bidding began and continued. The auctioneer was about to say “sold” when the minister began bidding. Eventually he bought the girl. When he reached out his hand to help her, she spit on his face. She said, “ I don’t know who you are, but if I ever get a chance, I’ll kill you. When the two got to the back of the building, Fairbanks turned to the girl and said, “Where I come from we don’t have slaves.” And with that he handed her her freedom papers. At first, she could not believe it. But when the truth finally gripped her, she turned to him and said, “Master, my master ! I will serve you as long as I live.”
The new birth brings a frredom far more wonderful to all who experience it. We are not freed from the slavery brought about by sin so that we can live as we please. Rather, we are freed so that we might serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
This Bible study material was prepared by Ramil Dizon (Cell Group Leader –Professional Ministry of Grace Bible Church- Manila )