In my Google search on the word, “slave”, I found that it is a Greek word, “doulos”, which has only one English translation “slave” and means, “to be owned by someone for a lifetime”.
Don’t you know when you offer yourself to someone as obedient slaves, you are the slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:16-23 NIV
When Paul wrote about slaves to the Corinthian church, they understood what he meant. In my research I found there were more slaves in Corinth than there were people who had legal rights. Some people became slaves because they owed a debt to the person, others were captives from Roman victories, and others were born into slavery. The Corinthian church was a composite of people who were legal citizens and people who were slaves or servants. Paul used the term “slaves” to explain the difference between “belonging to God in obedience to their Master, Jesus Christ”, or “continuing to live in the way they did before they came to believe in Him” – i.e., not growing in obedience to the way of righteousness and holiness.
When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he was writing to every person who had come to faith in Jesus Christ, not only citizens with rights, but also slaves. He reminded them at the beginning of his letter who they were in the Lord Jesus Christ, as individuals and as a community. And he gave thanks to God for all they had been given in Christ to enable them to live in faith and obedience. (1 Corinthians 1:1-9)
I am grateful for these scripture reminders to us in the 21st century.
Recently I read about a couple who were celebrating 60 years of marriage. When asked how they managed to stay committed to each other for so many years, the husband said that they chose to remember the vows they had taken before God and witnesses at their wedding. Indeed, they had displayed them where they could be reminded of them as they walked closely with the Lord and each other in the ups and downs of life.
“They chose to remember” is what grabs me. And I have the written word of God to remind me of who I belong to and the help he has given me to be about what He has called me to do.
Take time this week with each of the coming devotionals to spend time with the Lord listening to him as he enables you to grow in obedience to his loving commands. Praying for a blessed week for each of you.