Does God Condone Slavery?
Most pastors I have heard vigorously assert that God does not condone slavery. They muster their position by asserting God has placed parameters regarding certain cultural issues (such as slavery, polygamy, and divorce), not because He found them to be acceptable, but rather that their occurrence was inevitable and therefore He imposed regulations for the practices. I’m okay with that, but I just tend to take a more pragmatic stance, not presuming to know God’s mind on every issue. What we do know for certain is that slavery was already a part of the culture and God was not instituting a new practice, but regulating an old one.
Here’s a reality that very few are willing to talk about: God-governed slavery was a good thing and willing servitude is actually a better thing.
Welfare, as we know it in the United States, is a temporary solution to terrible problem. At the end of the day, very few folks who enter the welfare program are better off for having done so. However, bond servitude, in accordance with God’s mandates, is a better solution, inasmuch as the master complies with the regulations God has prescribed. If for example, a man finds himself in dire straights, and were able to offer himself to another for work, in exchange for his basic necessities of life, that man could successfully rise above the ranks of poverty, even if he remained under his employer’s roof forever. If you don’t agree, you’re probably struggling with the same thoughts I do — it won’t work because the master will most likely abuse the relationship. History bears witness to this, beginning with the very first slave all the way to present day. Regardless, in a perfect environment, bond slavery works.
Jesus: The Perfect Environment
Look at what Jesus did:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7
Now consider our calling:
For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. John 13:15
This is precisely the directive the Apostle Paul was adhering to when he wrote [in Romans 1] that he was in fact a bond servant of Jesus Christ. Paul was proclaiming that he was willingly bound to his master, fully understanding that he was unable to provide for himself that which he essentially needed: redemption, healing, and salvation. The only way these things could be procured (then and now), was by submitting to the authority and power of Jesus Christ. To reject total submission, aka: bond-service, was to reject the Master and the only hope of an everlasting life with Him. For this reason the individual must embrace the biblical doctrine of slavery, lest he die a second death. In Ephesians 6 we see how the relationship works out practically.
Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Did you see it? The text admonishes the master to, “Do the same things.” In the real world, sin corrupts this picture, but our Christ is not of this world; He is perfect. Jesus fulfills the obligation, and thus established Himself as the Master Supreme. Jesus made Himself of no reputation and took on the form of a bondservant, perfectly demonstrating obedient submission to the Father, fear of the Lord, sincerity of heart, humility, selflessness, mercy, and grace. Jesus has not asked His disciples (us) to do anything He has not already done Himself.
And the story gets better!
A Picture of Freedom
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:
To some, this is going to sound somewhat bizarre, but bear with me. Consider God’s directive in Exodus 21. In it God says [regarding the slave], “He shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing.” Was that merely a random regulation inserted by God, or was it purposely placed there to paint for us a prophetic picture of things to come? I believe that God never merely said (or says) anything. All His words are purposeful. Therefore, if we’re told to not forget, “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” and we know that the earth and universe is 6,000 years old, then that means the 7th day — the day of our freedom, is rapidly approaching. On the 7th day, we will have our Sabbath rest! That my friends is very Good News.
The Bible said it best, but ‘ol Bob Dylan agreed. He wrote and sang, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” In those lyrics it is clear to see we have a choice and that the choice is black and white. Thank God, because He gave us this freewill. He also blessed all humanity by taking the time to explain the consequences of our choices.
So embrace slavery and choose wisely — Choose Jesus.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36
These articles may or may not be related:
- Forgiveness: Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (joequatronejr.wordpress.com)
- Jesus does not go into the Water alone. He takes us with Him. A reflection on the Baptism of the Lord (adw.org)
- True Freedom (tomakechristknown.wordpress.com)
- Slavery Still Exists (eckerd.uloop.com)
- A Shout Out to End Slavery (six11.wordpress.com)
- Rediscovering Slavery (eradica.wordpress.com)
- Slavery Footprint: How many slaves work for me? 32 to be exact (digitalsavior.wordpress.com)
- We Always Serve a Master (briancoatney.com)
- Freed Slaves (studyingtheway.wordpress.com)
- Paul and Slavery (georgedowdell.org)
I am blessed that you took the time to read this blog. I pray that you were somehow blessed as well. If you enjoyed it, please like it, share it, comment on it, or subscribe to it.