Freedom and Slavery
John Telgren


I still remember how humbling it was. My supervisor had come over to help out with the house as we were moving out. The last thing to do was to clean. Everyone else had left. However, he stayed behind, and in spite of my insistence, he donned the rubber gloves, mop, bucket, and sponge, and cleaned until everything shone. I would have felt more comfortable had it been the other way around.

I believe this is the part of what freedom in Christ is about.

"Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men" (1 Cor 7:21-23).

This passage reminds us that we all belong to God and should as much as possible avoid being slaves of men. Being a slave of men is contrary to God's original design for mankind from the beginning.

This passage also reminds us that even if we are slaves of men and can't be free, we still are free indeed in the Lord. God is the one who owns us, not a slave master. Our heart and soul belong to him and no human master can ever change this or take it away. We work honestly and sincerely as a credit to the God who redeemed us. The reward we seek comes not from a slave master, but from our Father who has redeemed us not just to be his servants, but his beloved children.

On the other hand, the passage also reminds us that even if we are not slaves of men, we are slaves of God. We serve God and we serve others for God. We find the kind of freedom as slaves of God that can be found nowhere else. We voluntarily become a servant to others and pour ourselves out with the same attitude that Christ did. There is nothing threatening, demeaning, or undignified about this. In Christ, the greatest is the least.

The Bible declares that in Christ, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28). In fact, Philemon 16 reminds us that whether slave or free, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. So, feel "free" to serve someone this week.