2009 - Updated 03/03/12

Servant or Slave?

To begin with, lets examine the present misconception there is between the meaning of biblical slavery and servantry, while we are touching on the subject of 'force' as opposed to 'freedom of choice'.  Once again it is important to express the importance of differentiating the two, by rightly dividing the word of truth.  While understanding at the same time, how one is a compulsion (as in bondage - being forced or engineered to comply) while the other is the opposite ... freedom in the Spirit.  Here we go ...

After kicking-off this whole series titled
"Obedience, Freewill and the Sovereignty of God", I would first like to make something very clear before moving on.  That is by asking this question:  Did you know the Lord has made you and me to such incredible specifics (PSA 139:14), even to the point it is His will for us to be able to govern our very own life, granting us sovereignty over our own individual spirit?  This means putting us in the drivers seat, directly under the influence, guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost of course!

Furthermore, I betcha (in most cases) you have not been taught this before, have you?  Probably because this would place you in a position of learning a little bit more about yourself and why God created you in the first place, as well as why He has called and reconciled you back to Himself.  Something devils and religious powers would never fully want you to know, and would (subtly) prevent you to know, while allowing you some sort of "spiritual" autonomy in the process, to alleviate the situation and put you at eaze.  Or, to put it this way ... all for the purpose of appeasing you without questioning, in order to avoid you looking further.  Even to produce an (outwardly induced) religious experience, to emotionally please and advertently deceive you in the end!

After all, if this secret got out (that's EPH 3:3-6) then there could be a massive break-out from Christendom, as well as a great exodus to the kingdom of God.  Plus knowing this first, "that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (hands off religious institutions, spiritual clubs and latter day prophets and gurus!!)"!  Plus, Calvinism would no longer be viewed as 'one and the same' interchangeably with Christianity.  But as a distortion of grace and biblical redemption to all proportions.  As well as an effective diversionary and dividing instrument.

However, if you really believe that Calvinism and Christianity happen to be 'one and the same', why not just rename Christianity as Calvinism anyway?  As it looks like, to many, we have both the Lord Jesus and "Johnny the Great", in full and sound agreement.  At least thatz the way its pitched.  Like ... we need "J the G" as much as the New T, to get the overall true picture!

Going back in time, it's also the way JC's "Reformed Theology" got a boost and approval from Johnny Knox and other contemporary "qualified" kingpins at the time.  To set to motion in full swing, until the present.  Best to ask the Lord Himself about all this guff.  Thatz what I say.  Is this stuff extra biblical commentary and
a vital boost to what the NT is trying to convey in the first place?  Or is-ent the N Test sufficient in itself?  While relying on absolutely no add-ons or seminary assistance!  Just you and your Bible (the real authentic English one), in other words.  Like going plain 'religious cold-turkey', just for once, pleez!

One other very important point to be made clear:  If you happen to get arrested by the authorities for being a Bible believer (may not be too far off - 2 Tim. 2:9) and made to do forced labour without wages or privileges (made a slave in other words) please don't misinterpret this treatise as letting you off the hook (remember Paul being 'a prisoner' of Jesus Christ)?  This is because I am dealing with our calling in regards to our position before the Lord here.  Not in the position He may place us in through being witnesses.  Or to refine us as proof of this.

Whether in good times or bad times,
lavishing in milk and honey, or suffering in trials and tribulations, there is no guarantee of being exempt from any of these, if we are prepared to live for the cross.  After all, whatz that about the Lord making His sun to rise on both the evil and on the good (oh, you say there is no good do you, when it comes to folk?  That's not what Jesus said?  More on dis later).  Or the rain being sent to both the just and the unjust (shouldn't it be ... "both the privileged and the deprived depraved")?  While on earth we are both called as a servant and a witness.  With absolutely no surety about anything.  Apart from God never lying.  Nor denying us our guaranteed salvation and eternal assurance, if we heed His call and remain in Him!

On this theme, someone once wrote to me questioning the redeemed individual of having any say or sway over his very own life or salvation.  Like many, he was emphatic that as believers, we are called to be slaves.  Slaves of God that is!   And "slaves period" when on earth, was the impression I was given.  This was a swift reminder that this is not the first time, nor the last time, I or you will be faced with this hideous teaching.

Furthermore, this made me go back to my Bible and check it out again (you see, I do like to be thorough in checking everything out, even when I am 99.9 % convinced it is not in scripture).  And guess what? Yes, the word slave is only found ONCE in de WHOLE Bible!  Moreover, NOWHERE is the word slave found in the New Testament for that matter!  Additionally, the word 'slaves' in the plural, is only mentioned ONCE in the WHOLE Bible.  This happens to be found in the New Testament this time (Rev. 18:13)!  While the good news again ... this has got nothing to do with being a Christian!  It is merely referring to those outside of Christ! Who fall short of being a citizen or mere servant in society.

How does this one and only verse go, the only verse which mentions the word 'slave' between the two covers of the whole Bible?
  Here it goes, Jeremiah 2:14 ... in regards to God's rebellious servant (or God's rebellious people in the plural sense):

"Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?"

There it is, the word slave!  Only found ONCE in the whole word of God!

Now here's this verse broken down for clarification ... "Is Israel a servant?"  Is Israel called to serve other nations and be subservient to them, in other words?  Or, found in the same verse again ...

Is "he (Israel) a homeborn slave?"

Or, is this Israel's calling ... to be brought under bondage (without rights, freedom or choices) to other foreign peoples and nations?

Or howabout ... was Israel raised up to be a leader and a light to all the peoples about, for and on behalf of Jehovah?  While knowing blessing, freedom and prosperity!  In this special calling!

Yes, repeating again, the word slave is only mentioned once in the whole Bible.  This is to do with a question in reference to God's people ... Were the children of Israel born to be slaves?  Nope!  Never!  However, through disobedience, they got to know what being spoiled and real slavery was all about in the foreign, pagan land of Egypt.  Then later again, being brought into captivity to Babylon this time.

Was this their calling?  Nope!  Was this their chastisement?  Yes!  It was certainly nothing to do with servantry or any willingness on their part.  But everything to do with bondage and entrapment, as well as forced labour.  Something God has called us out of, where we are FREE to choose to serve Him.  As well as where the word servantry (or should I say servant) scripturally kicks in.

Servantry!  That's the word which is derived from the word 'servant'!

Furthermore, another question:  Is this word 'servant' mentioned in the Bible?  Yes ... scores and scores of times for that matter!  Is this word 'servant' mentioned in the New Testament?  Yes ... scores of times again!  Just like in the Old Testament.  In fact, the word servant is mentioned 458 throughout the entire Bible ... 379 times in the OT and 79 times in the NT.  A bit hard to deny really, wouldn't ya say?  Therefore, the conclusion here is that the word slave (only mentioned once) and servant (mentioned 458 times) are words of quite different meanings.  This is made clear in the above verse where both words are used descriptively and independently.

Now let's get out de world's English dictionaries and consider even the world's difference?:

Servant ... "someone who has been employed by someone else!"  No wonder we use to have (before privatization) people who were employed by the government who were called 'public servants'!   These people were no way slaves to the public as any more to the government who employed them.  They were there for the good of the people and for the privilege of having the security of regular employment for themselves, coupled with good working conditions and earnings to boot.

Slave ... "someone who has no rights at all and is banished to do what he is told.  Without privileges or ever being rewarded or expecting to be rewarded.  But serious consequences and repercussion if he failed or questioned his bondage!"

This is the reason a slave would hope and pray that somehow his master would be a bit more lenient towards him than what others were to their slaves.  Additionally, servants are entitled to wages (Luke 10:7) whereas slaves are not.  Proving
this big difference is not only scriptural but real evidence the world sees it this way too.  Confirming a slave and a servant are two different roles whether in the eyes of God or officially in the eyes of the world.

Yes, we may be the property of God, as He has bought us with a great price.  However, within this same discourse, He has bought us while we were locked into slavery (under sin) in order to emancipate us, and not turn us over to another tyrant, where we may remain in bondage.

In fact, to be really scriptural, the Bible does not even call sinners slaves in this context, but still uses the word servant.  Do you know why?  Could it not be because we have chosen to follow the Devil after we were born the first time?  Meaning, neither God nor the Devil made us serve the Devil.  The Devil simply did not just come and take us over without our approval (he has to convince us of course, through cunning, guile, fear or deceit).  Even God does not do this!  He is not a tyrant but the friend of sinners.  From the words of Jesus Himself:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."

Or in the words of Paul (if you believe in choice that iz):

"Know ye not, that to whom (I'm sure this means EVERYONE) ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

Look at this line again ... "whether of sin unto death (the lost and the damned), or of obedience unto righteousness (those that get saved)"!  There, proof it is to EVERYONE ... those that miss out, and those that make it!  Or, those that yield and those that choose not to yield.  To God that is!  In this case!

Do we yield through choice or are we forced to?  If we are forced to ... has the Devil made us do it or has God made us do it?  I can think of a much simpler explanation (which some would detest by the way) and that is ... we yield (whether it's to the Spirit or to the flesh - God or the Devil) by simply choosing to.  This is by activating our own will and not having our own will violated by anyone, by forcefully being taken over and driven against our will.  This is not God's nature.  Nor is it the way He made us.  That's in regards to the whosoever by the way!

Who is 'the whosoever'?  This covers us all again, as the Holy Book says!  Everyone!  Everyone on the face of the earth.  Even though I will cover this in more detail later on in this series, let me say ... everyone is the whosoever.  Wherez de proof?  Out of the 93 "whosoevers" found in the NT (one word please note!) I will just choose this one wee passage as total proof for a start (MAT 10:32-33):

"Whosoever therefore (no group distinction made here) shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever (no group distinction made here again) shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

Therefore, we only have two types of whosoevers here (covering EVERYONE on the face of the whole earth):  That is those who will confess Jesus and those who will not!  Think about it?  This is certainly not rocket science!  Nor is it heavy "revelation"!  Just the same, nor is it lofty theological debate either!  Nor complicating the simple issue of ACT  2: 21 fulfilling JOE  2: 32 ... "that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Of course there could be a third lot ...  'those who would choose to remain neutral!"  However, I can't find this bunch of people anywhere in the Bible.  Can you?  Besides, this would contradict Jesus who said (in regards to us ALL) ... "He that is not with me is against me!"  Oh dear, there's simple no escaping, is there?  Moreover, hypothetically, should there be such a third bunch, we would still have to call them 'the whosoever' wouldn't we?  Thatz, "Whosoever would choose to remain neutral"!  So there we have it!

Yes, there is certainly no escaping that 'the whosoever' in scripture is referring to ALL!  EVERY one of us on de face of de whole earth!

Moving on:  What happens to a slave when a new compassionate master purchases the slave in order to free him in some cases (the word slave chosen only for metaphoric purposes)?  Then exchanges him for his very own son, of whom he loves dearly?  Handing him over to the slave's owner to deal with in anyway he wishes?  Even in terminating the son's life!

In some cases, would not this broken (former) slave be so overcome with gratitude and overwhelmed with such relief, that he will choose to follow and serve the new master with his whole life?  Knowing his new master is not a tyrant, but a kind and caring saviour, who was prepared to go all the way for him!  Even though this slave knows fully well he did not deserve to be remembered or delivered at all.  Furthermore, would this not be the product of what scripture calls unfeigned love?  True, selfless love, in other words!  That is prepared to lay down its life for others and be a friend of sinners!  Is this not going against your doctrinal grain?

Please note, I am not saying every slave will feel this way.  The story of the ten lepers comes to mind here (LUK 17:12-19).  Only one out of ten was grateful to Jesus the healer and deliverer.  Was this done out of choice?  Or because this leper was already programmed to respond instead of disengaging as the others were programmed to do?

In ROM 1:21 even they that actually knew God, these apostatized people who knew God, decided to give up on Him.  They certainly were not automated or controlled to, thatz for sure!  If you read down to verse 24, you will see that God gave them up, only after they gave up on Him first:

"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts".

It does not say anything about God giving up on them before they rebelled.  Nor giving up on them before Creation.  Remember ... they knew God before the corruption process and before God gave up on them (v 21-25).  The important point to remember here ... after, not before.  After the decision is made on God.  Not before, due to God's pre Creation blueprint.

You know what?  Many of us (being products of Christendom) have been taught and told that we are slaves of God, and reminded that a slave has no rights at all!  Is that so?  This type of mindset would certainly make us ripe for the picking and easy to manipulate.  Would it also mean we could not test and prove all things, as well as exercise our right as Bereans?  After all, this could put someone out of business in the world of religions and 'many faiths', if the contrary proved to be so.

My Bible tells me that "as many as received him, to them gave he power (the right) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name"!  Moreover, if the poor have rights as Psalms 140:12 says, then how much more the sons of God?  There you go ...  no one owns you but God!  This also rules out your pastor or minister.  Or any other "spiritual" mentor, roll model, or "spiritual" "mother", you were conned into adopting, or embracing, after you came to the Lord.
  Anything to get into you, and plausibly nurse you away from the truth, in order to preserve the status quo and keep the religious machinery ticking over, as a justified institution.  Furthermore, if you end up being corrupted spiritually, it is through choice of your own (or allowance on your behalf - as we have just seen from Romans) and not because your course has been set in motion prior.

Getting back to the slave thing, here's how it works:  We have been adopted as sons and called as servants!

Pretty simple really!  Moreover, a faithful servant does not demand his rights but honours and trusts his employer.  If we have really been called to be slaves, this would mean we would have no right over anything and God could master us at His whim.  Basically, it would mean He could run all over us, all the time, and compel us to respond at His beckoning.  Like we were just machines.  Scripture does not say, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his machines," does it?  Or, that a man should lay down his life for his stamped-out clones!  No, but it does say "for his friends"!  That's what it says!  God sees us as His friends!  Jesus even called Judas friend, after Judas betrayed Him.

Here iz how it goes ...  "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends"!

Just think about it!?  The implications would be enormous, if we were God's play things?  It would also give husbands the right to be like this over their wives (domineering masters) and fathers to be like this over their children (cold dictators).  Moreover, how could a husband love his wife as Christ loved His church, if she was just a 'play thing' outside of being there just to do the chores?

Well, aren't we made in the image of God?  While as Christians haven't we have been re created (reborn) to serve (I mean 'slave it out' - joke) for God in this capacity, having the mind of Christ?  Being reminded here, that God is not a tyrant.  Nor an advantaged thug.  Therefore, He has not made us, or intended on us, being this way either.  Moreover ...  cancelling out steamrollers in the kingdom of God!  That goes for bulldozers too (although there is plenty of bull to bulldoze away in the interim)!  Where husbands are to love their wives, "even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it".  In the same sense that "we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

The truth is, as well as being scriptural to the tee ... God does not force His way into our life at all.  Oh spare me!  No, Jesus is not "an intrusive gentleman" as a dear young lassy tried to teach me the other day through one of her regular send-outs (bless her heart).  She certainly did not get it from the word.  This statement is nothing more than an oxymoron.  Jesus does not invade our lives in any sense of the word.  However, this is the way Satan goes about doing things.  Who will possess and run his subjects at whim, when they have yielded to his demands or enticements, and been lead away captive by their own (nurtured) lusts.

You see, slavery means bondage, whereas servantry means having the privilege to be able minister to. With the freedom to experience blessing and reward.  Meaning, we yield to Jesus as to cooperate or be fellowhelpers with Him ... JO3 1:8.  "For we are labourers together with God" ...  CO1 3:9.  Never to be automated by Him.  Nor engineered to mechanically carry out His will.  Meaning, 'servantry' is another term (in fact the correct term) for the biblical term 'ministry', as in ministering to God and others.  As, "a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord" (COL 4:7 - what a bummer for pastors and the like - and despite Juan Carlos Ortiz's top selling wee book "hit" ... "Disciple"!).  Moreover, where a dividend is promised in the end (HEB11:6).  In great contrast, there are simply no rewards for a slave at all.

Okay, I know there will always be those who will still object at what I have just written and will now use the other twist by quoting Paul as addressing himself as "a prisoner of Jesus Christ" this time.  As a prisoner is suppose to have little rights.  Therefore, let us eliminate this objection also, by looking at the only two verses mentioning this, while trusting the Lord to rightly divide them.  Here's the first one, with both verses only being found in the one chapter book of Philemon:

V. 1  "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer"

Notice Paul was the prisoner of Jesus here.  This is solely because God had allowed him to be arrested by the authorities due to his public stand for the gospel.  Paul does not say 'fellowsprisoner here, but just the word 'prisoner' standing by itself.  However, he did use the term 'fellowlabourer' did he not?  This was none other than him finding common ground here with the other brethren, labouring together jointly with them, for the gospel.  It would not have been correct for him to have called these other saints 'fellowprisoners' here.  The reason being, coz while Paul was still in bonds (physically) the other fellowlabourers were free outside of prison.  The next verses proves this to be so ... V. 9-10:

"Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds"

Because Paul found himself in physical bonds for the Lord and His gospel (hence being imprisoned), he acknowledge this as God's will and purpose by seeing these bonds as "the bonds of the gospel" (v.3).

In concluding and proving the difference between being a fellowprisoner and fellowlabourer of the Lord, verses 23-24 says this:

"There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus (as with Aristarchus - COL 4:10-12); Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers."

This is because while Paul and Epaphras were in prison, they were fellowprisoners together.  Moreover, while the others (Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas and Lucas) were outside, but still labouring for the same common cause (the gospel) they were fellowlabourers together in this instance.  Therefore, they could not be called or identified with Paul, Epaphras and Aristarchus (all behind bars), as fellowprisoners.  Or, in other words ... one smaller group were in physical bonds labouring together (as prisoners of Jesus Christ), while the others were not in physical bonds, but still labouring together as mere labourers or servants of Jesus Christ and as freemen.

After all, another name for a slave could be bondservant.  Whereas the word bondservant is also only mentioned ONCE in all of scripture!!  Again only found in the Old Testament.  The good news is that when we come to Christ the word says we are neither "bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all."  Furthermore, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty!  Yes, former slaves set free!  Now free to serve God (true servantry)!  Who "is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  From a God and Saviour who says to His children ... "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  Yes, we maybe servants (in fact, we are servants) but we are no way slaves of God!

Therefore, let us, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free"!  And remain there!

Coz, at worst (if there is a worst - CO1 7:22) ... we are the Lord's servant!  While at best ...  we are the Lord's freemen!  Choosing to be servants due to us being made free!


Feel free to down load, or make copies of any article on The Radical Pilgrim, on the request that its contents are not changed, or sold; along with a link to its Home Page.