This final message of the series recaps the essential themes of the series and highlights the way in which the paradoxes of slavery to Christ transform a negative thing into a thing of joy.
It is difficult to fully comprehend just how wonderfully amazing the grace of God in Christ is until we realize the other side of the story. It is a universal reality that apart from Christ we are slaves to sin, the most devastating and degenerating power ever to afflict the human race. Sin corrupts the entire person leading to misery and condemnation. But when we embrace grace in Jesus Christ we find freedom from the wretched clutches of sin.
The words “master” and “slave” are relational counterparts, as are their Greek terms “kurios” and “doulos” which are found in the New Testament. In 1st century Roman culture the experience of a slave was dependent upon the nature and character of the master. If they had a cruel and unjust master then their experience was likely a harsh one. But if they had a benevolent and upright master then they would likely have an esteemed experience. As slaves of Jesus Christ our experience parallels the experience of the 1st century Roman slave. Jesus is repeatedly referred in the New Testament with the titles “Lord,” “Master,” and “Owner.” Those titles reveal to us that He is the rightful master of those who are His followers. By looking at His nature and character revealed in the New Testament we see that those who are His slaves can count it a privilege of the highest degree and trust that He will most certainly care for those who are His.
“Christian” seems to be a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. It seems as though everyone thinks they’re a Christian today and at the same time everyone wants nothing to do with the term. We find the word planted in front of everything from our nation to music to amusement parks. But what does it really mean to call ourselves “Christian”? Is there any clear answer out there to this question? What does the Bible have to say, if anything, about it? Though the word “Christian” is found only three times in the New Testament the Bible has a great deal to say about what it really means to call ourselves “Christian.” If we claim that title as our own then it means we are a wholehearted follower of Jesus Christ completely devoted to His will and seeking to please Him above all else. Time and again the New Testament affirms this through the use of the most frequently used phrase designating followers of Jesus Christ: doulos of God or of Christ. This series will take a look at that phrase and its implications for our day to day lives.
When Jesus invited people to be His followers of disciples, what exactly did He mean, and how did those who were His earliest followers understand His request and live it out? A survey of the New Testament reveals many terms and phrases that identify followers of Jesus Christ and each helps us understand what it means to be a Christian. Yet, one metaphor is used more frequently than any other. It is doulos of God or of Christ. As we look at the meaning of this phrase and how early followers of Jesus applied it to themselves it becomes clear what it means to be a Christian. To be a Christian demands that I devote myself completely to Christ as His slave.