The CHOICE of being a slave of Christ
I submit to you that the greatest asset of love is the freedom of choice – a decision of the will to enter into a deep dependence upon another.
God is love and He gave us that choice – the ability to choose Him or another, back in the Garden of Eden, and even today.
We chose a deceiving liar, over absolute Truth. Why would we do that?
Because of our itching desire to know more.
It was called the tree of knowledge of good and evil and we wanted to know. But we were not able to process or handle the knowledge we attained. Because that knowledge bound us to a wicked and perverse master, who owned us and packed us up to go with him on his one-way journey to eternal death.
And all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 6:23) and the after effect of that falling short meant that we were doomed to die. The choice to know evil, made us lose the choice we had to choose life. We were sold to the un-gentleman snake in the tree, for the cheapest possible price.
So there we were, shackled to serve our new slavemaster who was heading over the cliff, like the possessed pigs in Gaderenes.
But Christ stopped him along the way, and made an offer to buy us back! The price for purchasing us back was to go ahead of Satan in this highway to hell and back again.
It was the highest possible price and we now belonged to Him again, but instead of enslaving us to forced action like his adversary, He presented us with the greatest asset of love again – freedom to choose to serve Him, or to be shackled to Satan again.
6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Romans 6:6,14, 22 (NLT)
This Scripture makes it clear that the unsaved man has no choice but to serve sin. Sin is his master. But if he is crucified with Christ, he has the ability to choose. We get to pick our master. We were reinstated with the same freedom of choice that Adam and Eve had.
Now let’s switch to an example of some guys who chose wisely:
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15 (ESV)
The translated “servant” literally means “slave.” So Jesus is saying, He will not apply this title to the disciples. But interestingly enough, the disciples (or Apostles as they later were called), ascribed this “slave identity” to themselves! There are various scriptures with references to James, Peter, John and Paul labelling themselves as “Slaves of Jesus Christ” (see for e.g., Romans 1:1; James 1:1; 2Peter 1:1; Revelation 1:1.)
Why would they do that?
Why would they choose to the position of slavery if Jesus promoted them to friends?
Let’s look into that… Jesus says in this Scripture that He “NO LONGER” calls them slaves. Which means that there was a time in the past where ‘they’, perhaps referring to pre-Christ servants of God, also known as Old Testament prophets, were slaves.I
It might be because the part of the slave is mechanical obedience, without understanding the vision of the master.
To illustrate, think about a large company: The junior clerk does not understand the vision of the company, nor can he comprehend the moves of the CEO. He simply does what he is told and trusts the CEO’s leadership.
And in the Old Testament, we see that the prophets who made truth claims, inspired by the Holy Spirit concerning the Messiah to come, didn’t fully understand what they were saying.
And they certainly didn’t see the manifestation of their predictions in their lifetime. They were just obedient to the promptings of their Master who required them to serve, by sharing salvation’s story to unfold.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12a It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news…
1 Peter 1:10-12 (ESV)
This is an amazing Scripture. Notice who the prophets were serving: their Master was God, and He made them work, for you!
So now, this marvellous mystery was manifested in the Messiah and there He was in John 15:15, telling His disciples that He told them everything the Father had said. This was the reason they were promoted from junior clerk to department head status, sitting in a board meeting with the CEO.
But, 40 days after Jesus was raised from the dead, He ascended to Heaven and shortly after that, the Holy Spirit was poured out.
Only then, some things that Jesus told them in the “board meeting” (while He was with them), was beginning to make sense (see John 12:16).
They quickly realised that just because He told them, doesn’t mean they understand. And even with the Holy Spirit in them, they only see in part (1 Corinthians 13:12). So they might be promoted to a seat in the boardroom with the CEO, but they still didn’t fully understand the vision of the company, and they cannot fully comprehend the moves of the CEO. So they simply did what He told them and trusted in His leadership.
Because the mystery is still unfolding. Like the Psalmist write, the knowledge of it is too wonderful to attain (Psalm 139:6), and so they did not occupy themselves with things too great and too marvellous for them. (Psalm 131:1)
Instead of trying to know, like Adam and Eve, they simply surrendered. He legitimately bought them back from a fateful death and presented them with an option they never had – everlasting life. Of course, they would be bondslaves to Him. They faithfully gave their very lives to the mission of the Master, because He knows the plans to prosper, He sees the vision to give hope and a future.To them were revealed, like to the prophets that they were also serving a people yet to come – the Gentiles whose fullness have yet to come in (Acts 26:17, Romans 11:25).
So to summarise and bring you in the picture:
- The greatest asset of love is freedom of choice.
- You too, originally chose to be a slave to sin, because you wanted to know more than you can comprehend.
- But because of the price Jesus paid, you too are presented with the ability to choose your own master.
If you choose to be a slave of Christ, then like the prophets and apostles, you serve a cause greater than your mind can ever fathom, and future generations are the beneficiaries of your service towards Him.
You’re going to be a slave to Someone. Which master will you choose?