I’ve heard on more than one occasion by the modern liberal that reading the Bible “a certain way”, e.g. to justify women not being in the pulpit, is the same justification for encouraging slavery. Any halfway responsible reader of the text doesn’t come to that conclusion.

We know Paul said in 1 Cor 7:21-23, “Were you called while a slave? Don’t let it concern you. But if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people.” So we are slaves to sin and this world or a slave to Christ, regardless of our earthly freedom.

He adds another dimension in Romans 6:20-22, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness. So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. But now, since you have been set free from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification-and the outcome is eternal life!”

But let’s also look at 1 Peter 2:18-20, “Household slaves, submit to your masters with all reverence not only to the good and gentle ones but also to the cruel. For it brings favor if, because of a consciousness of God, someone endures grief from suffering unjustly. …For what credit is there if when you do wrong and are beaten, you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God.”

We see such elements in the comprehensive view of Scripture:

1) Do your best in all that you do, for glorifying God in your abilities; this goes to ever facet of life. It worships God to joyfully do the best you can, no matter your situation.

2) If you’re bound in this world, you will find freedom in Christ; likewise, if you’re free in this world, you’ll find servitude in Christ. He fulfills our need in just the right ways; it may break us down or lift us up, but it is our sanctification and it is God’s glorification.

3) Suffering and enduring grief is to our benefit. When just it is our chastisement; but when unjust the Father attends, blesses, and cherishes these trials that glorify Him. To be like Christ, after all, if we read the Scriptures, would be utterly devoid of truth w/o suffering.

4) Plain and simple, we will all be slaves to something in this world – – we best flee from eternal wrath, and quit putting our emphasis on physical over spiritual well-being. The above passages, telling the Christian how to handle their situations, nor the verses telling master’s how to treat their slaves, encourage the Christian to partake in slavery. How many other facets of life (affliction, sickness, loss, et al) did Christ insist we turn to him from? If we focus on the carnal, whether in real life or in Scripture interpretation, I’m convinced we will undershoot the Heavens and wind up desperately far from our target.

To live is Christ & to die is gain. God is not unaware of your current situation, nor was He with any before us. Find comfort in His sovereign hand; Find joy in Him where the world wants you to wallow in sadness.

“God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.” – Augustine of Hippo

“There are times when we suffer innocently at other people’s hands. When that occurs, we are victims of injustice. But that injustice happens on a horizontal plane. No one ever suffers injustice on the vertical plane. That is, no one ever suffers unjustly in terms of his or her relationship with God. As long as we bear the guilt of sin, we cannot protest that God is unjust in allowing us to suffer.” – R.C. Sproul

{Originally written on April 9, 2020}