The title of this blog isn’t a type-o. I didn’t mean to write “Jesus Saves” but “Jesus Slaves.” Let me explain…
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you probably refer to yourself as a “Christian.” I do. Yet, that word only appears 3 times in the Bible. In addition to “Christian” the Bible uses a host of other metaphors to describe followers of Jesus: “aliens and strangers of this world” — “citizens of heaven” — “sheep on His flock” — etc. All wonderful word pictures.
Yet, there is one metaphor used more frequently than any of these — it’s the image of a slave and it is used 124 times in the original Greek language. But you won’t realize that if you read most English translations of the Bible like the NIV or even the King James Version.
Because of the negative racial overtones attached to that word, the majority of English Bible translations choose to translate the Greek word “doulos” as “servant” instead of “slave.” But in the original Greek — the word “doulos” [pronounced do-loss] — means “slave.” In fact, the Greek language has at least a half dozen words that can mean “servant” — and “doulos” is not one of them.
We are a “doulos” of Christ – not His servant – but His slave.
And that changes everything.
You see, if you are simply a servant of Jesus, then you have rights. You have say-so. You can choose whether or not to serve your Master. You can decide whether or not you want to do what He commands.
But you are not a servant of Jesus. You are His slave. You have been bought with a price. You belong to Christ. You are His possession.
In Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ, John MacArthur writes, “True Christianity is not about adding Jesus to my life. Instead it is devoting myself completely to Him — submitting wholly to His will and seeking to please Him above all else. It demands dying to self and following the Master, no matter the cost. In other words, to be a Christian is to be Christ’s slave.” (p. 22)
And because of the upside nature of the Kingdom of God, it is only when we embrace our identity as a Jesus slave that we can truly be free.
***Please make The Eastside Vineyard Church part of your Labor Day weekend plans. My sermon is titled “This is My Body…” and will focus on The Last Supper in Matthew 26:17-30. Here’s a quote from “The Meal Jesus Gave Us” by Tom Wright that shows where I’ll be headed: “Nothing is more central to Christian practice than Holy Communion. Yet, curiously enough, little attempt is made to explain it. So many outside the Christian community are just puzzled by it, and many within the church take Communion out of habit but know very little about how the practice arose and what it actually means.” Sunday. September 1st. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***