Recently my husband heard John MacArthur preaching on Slaves for Christ at Steve Lawson’s church. MacArthur has a book due to come out in January entitled “Slave“. My husband really enjoyed listen to MacArthur’s sermon and I was hoping the audio would have been up by now, but it isn’t. However, this sermon was preached a few years ago on the topic and you might find it interesting. There is alot of baggage that comes with the word “slave” but we should never shy away from what the Bible says even when we don’t like the terminology.
We’re going to turn to a subject in the New Testament that as I think about it is largely ignored and overlooked. And I’ve been made aware of that in recent months. It was not too many months ago that I was flying on one of those jumbo jets from Los Angeles to London, in the process reading a book that dealt with the issue of slavery in the New Testament time and in the New Testament text. It set me thinking in all kinds of directions. I actually finished the book on the flight I was so rapt in my attention to this particular theme.
Being a slave of Christ may be the best way to define a Christian. We are, as believers, slaves of Christ. You would never suspect that, however, from the language of Christianity. In contemporary Christianity the language is anything but slave language. It is about freedom. It is about liberation. It is about health, wealth, prosperity, finding your own fulfillment, fulfilling your own dream, finding your own purpose. We often hear that God loves you unconditionally and wants you to be all you want to be. He wants to fulfill every ambition, every desire, every hope, every dream. In fact, there are books being written about dreams as if they are gifts from God which God then having given them is bound to fulfill. Personal fulfillment, personal liberation, personal satisfaction, all bound up in an old term in evangelical Christianity, a personal relationship. How many times have we heard that the gospel offers people a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
What exactly does that mean? Satan has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and it’s not a very good one. Every living being has a personal relationship with the living God of one kind or another, leading to one end or another.
But what exactly is our relationship to God? What is our relationship to Christ? How are we best to understand it?
Well if you read the New Testament in its original text, you would come away stunned really by how different the original text is from any English version that you’ve ever read…whether King James, New King James, New American Standard, ESV, NIV and you can name all the rest. All of them virtually have found a way to mask something that is an absolutely critical element of truth. In fact, the word “slave” appears in the New Testament 130 times in the original text. You will find it once in the King James, once the Greek word “slave” is translated slave. You will find it translated “slave” a few other times in other texts, like the New King James text and even the New American Standard text, and it will be translated “slave” when, one, it refers to actual slavery, or two, it refers to some kind of bondage to an inanimate reality. But whenever it is personalized, the translators seem unwilling to translate it “slave.” Continue
Barnes & Noble Video Clip of MacArthur talking about his Book.