Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Doulos" of CHRIST JESUS -- Slave of GOD

i was a fully devoted Follower of JESUS CHRIST. Today -- i am a fully devoted Slave of CHRIST JESUS.

After listening to John MacArthur's message "Slaves for JESUS CHRIST" -- i discovered that i am a Slave of JESUS CHRIST.

GOD's amazing Wisdom and unfathomable Patience is such that He did not allow this Revelation until i had fallen so deeply in love with JESUS, my Beloved LORD, that i was able to receive this TRUTH with JOYful acceptance.

When i was but a "baby" CHRISTian, i balked at the Bible passages that commanded SUBMISSION to the husband, meekness in dealing with people, turning the other cheek when attacked, going two miles when forced to do the one, forgiving 70 x 7 that same person, giving to every one who asks or borrows (and not hoping for anything in return), praying for and loving my enemy, even "washing feet."

But in GOD's perfect timing, i heard MacArthur's message with a HalleluJAH! bursting forth from my heart. It made perfect sense to me.

i "grew up" feeding on the New King James Version (John MacArthur's Study Bible); and today, the New Living Translation. All the years of my thus far, brief CHRISTian life, i digested "Well done, good and faithful servant." i lived as best as i could to please GOD with a servant heart. My understanding as a fully devoted follower of CHRIST JESUS was that of a devoted servant -- not as devoted slave.

John MacArthur's exposition was exceptional -- it was TRUTH clarified in words that my mind could grasp and my heart could receive with JOY. It was an Aha! moment for me.

In the original language of the Scriptures (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), the New Testament was written in Greek. The Greek word doulos appears 130 times -- yet in the NKJV, it appears but once in the true English translation: doulos of CHRIST -- slave of CHRIST (1 Corinthians 7:22). The word doulos is translated in English to "slave" when actual slaves are mentioned, or when it describes a slave of someone or to something (i.e., slave of Philemon, slave to SIN) -- but not as a personal relationship to JESUS CHRIST (i.e., slave of JESUS CHRIST). The original Greek word doulos when translated to English (in the 20 authorized Bible translations) is changed to "servant" (or "bondservant" -- someone bound to labor without wages -- still a "slave," though not seemingly as abrasive). MacArthur contends that there are six words in Greek for "servant" -- none of them doulos, and yet doulos (slave) is translated as "servant" in almost all the English Bible translations.

In the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), doulos is consistently translated in English as slave, as well as E. J. Goodspeed's translation. The American Standard Bible translates doulos as "slave" (in the context of a personal relationship to JESUS CHRIST) when there was no getting around it (per MacArthur), as does the New Living Translation. (Compare English translations of doulos in Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1, Galatians 1:10, Colossians 1:7, Titus 1:1, James 1:1, Jude 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1)

The word slave is such a distasteful word, with all its evil connotations and dark historical attachments. Slavery means oppression, subjugation, evil done to others. To be called a slave of someone or to something could mean NOthing good -- talk to any African-American or Israeli Jew (or anyone who was ever enslaved by someone or by something). It is totally vile... like an unmitigated hurt, with its associated scars that may still be tender and oozing with bitterness and unforgiveness.

What is a doulos -- a slave?

A slave is exclusively OWNED by one master -- bought with a price.
A slave is in complete and constant availability and OBEDIENCE to that one master.
A slave is SUBJECT to one alien will -- the will of that master.
A slave is to live ONLY for the singular purpose of pleasing that master.
A slave is completely DEPENDENT on that master for absolutely EVERYthing.
A slave is DISCIPLINED and REWARDED at that master's discretion.

In other words, a slave has NO independence, NO freedom, NO rights of any kind! He is OWNED, controlled, subjected -- made to serve -- to do anything required, whether he likes it or not. Slaves (in Roman times) had no rights, no legal recourse, didn't own anything, had no citizenship, couldn't give testimony in a court case, no choice about anything -- they were totally dependent on the master who owned them. And if a slave ran away, he was flogged or even crucified.

All that said, why do i DELIGHT in being a doulos, a Slave of JESUS CHRIST? Why is this not a repugnant word to me? Why does it ring TRUE in my heart of hearts -- my soul? Why does it ascertain Oswald Chambers' "It matters not What GOD does -- it matters only WHO He is"?

Because of WHO The Master is -- GOD the SON, CHRIST JESUS -- Faithful and True, Prince of Peace, Lamb of GOD, Lion of Judah, Light of the world...OMNIpotent, OMNIscient, OMNIpresent, ETERNAL and Righteous Judge. The I AM WHO I AM is my LORD! HE is the Creator and Owner of ALL things seen and UNseen. This Master is INfinitely kind and benevolent, utterly gracious and compassionate. HE IS LOVE Incarnate. My Master is The GOD Who LOVED the world SO much (you and me) that He GAVE His ONLY Begotten SON (The LORD JESUS) to atone for the SINs of ALL who would REPENT -- turning from their sin TO GOD for FULL forgiveness, fully TRUSTING that CHRIST JESUS has fully paid for their SIN-debt by His BLOOD shed at Calvary's Cross. (John 3:16) And because HE is a Holy GOD, EVERYthing He wills is ALLways JUST and RIGHTEOUS.

Wasn't i bought with His own BLOOD? His Precious BLOOD was shed in agony on The Cross that i may be washed clean by it... my SINs blotted out by it... and my place in the Kingdom of GOD GUARANTEED by it.

JESUS' SACRIFICIAL, SUBSTITUTIONARY Death on The Cross bought my FREEDOM. i am owned by CHRIST. i am His doulos -- i am a slave of JESUS CHRIST.

When i received JESUS as my CHRIST... as my Savior and LORD -- did i realize the full extent of His LORDship in my life? No. Did i know that i would be His doulos for eternity, not a servant who can choose to quit? No. Did it occur to me that when i confessed Him as LORD, that i was also confessing myself as slave of GOD? No.

TOday -- more than ever, i fully understand the TRUE meaning of "LORD." When JESUS IS LORD and Master of me -- i am under His absolute ownership and control (through the Holy SPIRIT); subject and obedient to His will; loyal and devoted ONLY to Him; and totally dependent on Him for absolutely EVERYthing -- ALL my material, emotional and spiritual needs. HE is the Provider, the Protector, the Comforter of this doulos. Rather than being an oppressed slave, i am a lovingly cared for peculiar Possession of the most glorious Master of the heavens and earth.

JESUS, my Master, has made me a daughter of GOD and joint-heirs with Himself; adopted me into His family; will take me to Heaven, and now pours out all the SPIRITual riches in His possession for my JOY and for His GLORY. i was a slave to Death, Hell and Sin -- under satan's authority -- but TOday, i am slave to GOD and His Righteousness, Creator and Master of the Universe!

HalleluJAH! i am no longer a slave to the god of this world or to SELF -- i am a fully devoted slave of JESUS CHRIST!

Paul, Peter, Timothy, Jude, James (the brother of JESUS) called themselves doulos of GOD and of JESUS CHRIST. They were CALLED to be more than servants -- they were called by CHRIST to be His doulos -- His very own. Even the virgin Mary, mother of JESUS, called herself The LORD's slave. "I am The LORD's slave," said Mary. "May it be done to me according to Your WORD." (Luke 1:38, HCSB).

And The SON of GOD Himself -- existing in the EXACT Form of GOD -- assumed the form of a SLAVE! HE (JESUS) made Himself NOthing; He took the HUMBLE position of a SLAVE and appeared in human form. (Philippians 2:7)

And ALL who have received JESUS as their LORD and Master, have been bought, redeemed, purchased by GOD Himself. What a VERY GREAT Privilege to be owned by the GOD of the Universe!

But a most awesome and most amazing TRUTH is this -- that JESUS no longer calls us slaves -- doulos -- but friends! SAVED SINNERS, once fit only for the dung heap -- bound for HELL -- are now friends with GOD. This is the UNbelievable, UNfathomable, INdescribable LOVE of GOD... manifested IN CHRIST.

"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his Master is doing; but I have called you friends, for ALL things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15)

JESUS -- the sweetest Name i know!

No comments:

Post a Comment