Slavery. It’s not a pretty word. It’s not a feel-good word. In today’s culture, it is not a politically correct word. When we hear it, we think about oppression, inhumane treatment, and despicable actions. We think about some of the darkest times and most terrible people. Slavery has negative connotations for good reason. There is no doubt slavery has a deep, dark, and ugly past. So what could possibly be good about it, much less beautiful?
Romans 6 reveals a very different side to slavery. In this chapter, Paul talks about a time in our lives when we were enslaved to sin (vs. 6). Sin was our master. Sin ruled over us, oppressed us, and ultimately was going to destroy us (vs. 23). Then something wonderful happened. We were offered freedom from our wicked master if we would simply become slaves of the Lord (vs. 1-7). With Him as Master, He offered us a new life (vs. 4). He offered us freedom from our sins (vs. 7). He offered us righteousness and sanctification (vs. 16, 19). He offered us eternal life (vs. 22).
This offer is still available today. God is asking us to leave our slavery of sin to serve Him. The rewards He offers us cannot be measured. The benefits He gives cannot be adequately described. He isn’t asking too much of us in return. He will treat us with love, care, and compassion. He will be patient, forgiving, and gentle. In fact, He won’t even treat us as slaves, but as sons and joint heirs (Galatians 4:7).
The problem is, we will always be enslaved to something. Even if all racism, prejudice, discrimination, and bias ends in our world, there will still be slavery. It is impossible for there not to be. The reason is because we only have two choices: (1) Let sin and Satan be master over us, or (2) Let God be master over us.
When we really think about it, there is nothing negative that comes with being a slave to God. None of the negative feelings and connotations that come from slavery can be applied to this relationship with the Lord. If there was ever a beautiful side to slavery, this is it. The only question that remains is: whom will we serve? I hope we will echo Joshua’s famous words, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).