Thursday, April 21, 2011
Slave by John Macarthur
"Slave of Christ Jesus." If you are in Christ, then this is your new identity, according to the latest book by John MacArthur, Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ. But why would MacArthur say this is a hidden truth? It comes down to one word: doulos. Doulos is the Greek word for slave and it appears 124 times in the New Testament and is the most common word that the writers of the New Testament use when denoting their identity and relationship to Christ. Surprised or confused,wondering why you never noticed it before? The answer, as identified by MacArthur, is that the word has been translated as servant in most cases. So what? you may ask. Servant, Slave, same thing isn't it? The problem is that the Greek language has a dozen or so words that can mean servant and doulos is not one of them. Doulos only refers to a slave or an attitude or status of a slave. This is very important and has dramatically altered my view of my identity in Christ.
Here is why it makes a difference in what word is used: Servants are hired; Slaves are owned.
Jesus used numerous illustrations where he used slave imagery to explain the relationship between himself and his disciples, including the well know statement "Well done, good and faithful servant" (literally good and faithful slave [doulos]) (Matthew 25:21)
Paul understood this slave relationship when he said, "You are not your own for you have been bought with a price." (1 Cor. 6:19-20) The New Testament writers commonly referred to themselves as "servants [doulos] of Christ Jesus" ( Romans 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:1)
MacArthur carries the reader through scripture as he describes slavery and shows the connection and importance of slaves being joyfully loyal to their Master. The slave is given the privileged status of adoption as part of the family. What could be greater than to be a slave to a gracious and merciful Master that will provide for all your needs and give you a seat at His family's table?
In summary, there are only two kinds of people: slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness (which can only come through Christ)
Which are you?