Slaves of Righteousness
Be Strong, Be Well — Friday, April 23, 2021
Slavery goes back thousands of years before Jesus was born. One of the earliest recorded laws on the institution of slavery is found in the Code of Hammurabi (1860 B.C.). The Israelites were slaves in Egypt for centuries at about this same time.
Slavery existed in the first century A.D. and was widespread in the Roman Empire during the time of Christ and the early church. Slaves had become a vital part of Roman life, doing almost everything in the Roman world. But they were considered property and had no legal rights.
There were several ways in the Roman world in which a slave was freed. One of the rituals practiced was to sell his slave to a pagan god. The master would take his property to the temple priests. They would dig into the temple treasury and pay the master the price determined for the slave.
The slave became the property of the god. He was committed to the service of the false god for the rest of his life. He could never be sold to another human ever again.
Paul used this imagery in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Pagan slaves, willing to live the rest of their lives in service to a false, silent, powerless god, were sold—bought with a price. How much more should Christians willingly live out our lives for the only living, powerful, and personal Almighty God? After all, we are purchased with the priceless blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and God Himself.
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:16–18). —Chris