1 Peter 2:16 (NLT) For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.
Did I read that correctly? We’re free yet we’re slaves? When did I sign up for slavery?
This stuff is confusing!
In his book Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman points out that Peter, Paul, James, and Jude all introduce themselves as slaves of God. Follow the links. It’s true. Their bios don’t tout their status as His apostles or their accomplishments on Jesus’ behalf. They voluntarily claim the position of slave. Even Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusades for Christ who impacted billions of people before his death in 2003, has three words on his tombstone: Slave for Jesus.
We don’t like this word ‘slave’. Our country’s history and ongoing human trafficking worldwide evoke a strong negative response. It’s repulsive. But the Greek word doulos, which is also translated servant, is used to describe followers of Jesus about 130 times in the New Testament. The original readers heard ‘slave’ every time, not servant.
Idleman also explains that when Jesus is called Lord (capitalized), it is kyrios which is a slavery word - the title given to the owner of the slave. My handy dandy Keyword Study Bible tells me this specific slave owner title is used 635 times in the New Testament.
You are free, yet you are God’s slaves.
This is probably new information for you. It is for me. It has opened my eyes to view many passages in a fresh way. It will take some time to think about.
What does it mean to become a slave of God? (tweet this)
Like a productive garden, a rich relationship should be tended regularly. To be reminded to plant His Word in your heart, follow me on Twitter @Cathy_Chung or subscribe at Seeds of Scripture.
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