“Slave Laborers”

Posted: September 3, 2016 in Christian Life, First Peter

1 Peter 2:18-20

Slavery. It usually brings up a lot of gruesome images in our minds as we think about it and the mistreatment that some people have experienced and are still experiencing even to this very day. Having to submit to another person goes against the grain of our natural disposition. We want to be our own master and do what we want when we want to do it without any negative consequences.  This rebellious attitude goes all the way back to our original father, Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-14; 1 John 3:9, 10).

But such lawlessness will lead people back into slavery under a very cruel tyrant. Did you know that the Scriptures speak of such an individual who rise up out of the sea of humanity and rule over the whole world (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 13)? He is probably alive right now and ready to rise to the occasion when the moment it right.


It may surprise you to know that not all slave masters were cruel to their slaves. After having to serve another Jew for up to seven years, perhaps for an indebtedness, some Israelites chose to stay on as slaves to their wise, considerate, and kind masters who took good care of them. To demonstrate their willingness to remain as his slave, these Jews would have his ears bored through with an awl which left a mark for all to see (Exodus 21:1-6).

“In Bible times, slavery was based more on economics; it was a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters.” [1]

In our country today most people are free to be employers or employees. We can choose to serve and work for someone else or have our own business and employ others who may or may not be reliable workers. God has instructions for both groups (Ephesians 6:5-9).


Joseph was one of the twelve sons of Jacob. He was sold by his brothers and ended up as a slave to Potiphar in Egypt (Genesis 39). Because of his trustworthiness he was elevated to the steward of his household. But he spent time in prison too because his master’s wife lied about him because he wouldn’t commit adultery with her. But eventually he was elevated to the number two position in Egypt for interpreting the Pharaoh’s dream about the coming famine in the land. But much later another Pharaoh came to the throne and enslaved the Jews for hundreds of years as God had predicted (Genesis 15:13-16; Exodus 1:8-22; 13:3, 4; 20:2).

Even after entering the land that God had promised to give to them as an eternal inheritance, the Jews failed to obey God and ended up enslaved to the heathen people around them as recorded for us in the book of Judges. Later the Jews were enslaved in Babylon for 70 years for their idolatrous practices and violating the Sabbatical year by not letting the land rest (2 Chronicles 36:21). Since 605 B.C. to the present, the Jews have not been totally free from Gentile domination and oppression and won’t be until their Messiah, Jesus returns and delivers the believing, Jewish remnant from total annihilation (Romans 11:25; Zechariah 12, 14; Revelation 19).

The Church has not replaced Israel. [2] The believing Jewish remnant still has a bright future ahead of them (Romans 11:1ff).  They will inherit all the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendents (Genesis 15:18-21). When the Romans conquered and captured people, they usually enslaved them if they thought they had some value and/or usefulness to them. It has been estimated that there were about 60 million slaves who served the Romans.

Slavery is still practiced in our world today. Some believe that there are about 30 million people who are involved in forced labor around the world. Many people are kidnapped and forced into human trafficking. God was and still is opposed to such practices but this will go on until Jesus Christ returns to rule and reign over this world for 1,000 years (Exodus 21:16; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Revelation 18:13; 20:1-7).


Technically, we may not be slaves, but if we, as Christians, work for someone else, God has some directives for us to follow. We are to submissive to our master, employer, or manager. We are being paid to do a job that provides a product and/or service to others who will pay for them. Without “paying customers” there will be no money for our employer to pay us. To submit means to arrange ourselves under someone. It is used in these Bible passages: Ephesians 5:21-24, 6:1-9, Galatians 5:13, and other places.

Furthermore, God wants us maintain a proper attitude of gratitude toward our master, employer, manager whether he/she is good and gentle or harsh (1 Timothy 2:1-4). We must keep in mind that our ultimate Master is/should be the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:5-9).  We should do our best to meet His approval (2 Corinthians 5:9; Matthew 25:23).

If we do what is wrong and suffer for it, we should not think that we are suffering unjustly. We should not be guilty of insubordination, disrespect, theft, or other dishonorable practices. This could lead to God’s disapproval, rebuke, discipline, and possibly the termination of our employment or something worse.

The Reasons For Such Behavior

God can be glorified when we suffer for doing what is right (1 Peter 2:19) and it may bring to us credit, praise, and rewards in this life and/or in the next life, but not salvation (Romans 13:3; Esther 6:1-3; 1 Corinthians 3:11-14; 2 Corinthians 5:10). What motivates you? Is it the love of God that has been shed abroad in your life or some other motive (Romans 5:5)? God knows and will judge us not only according to our works but also according to our motivations (1 Corinthians 4:5; Hebrews 4:12).

Free Or Not?

Thank God that we who live in the United States are still quite free in many ways. But most people are still living under the tyranny of their father, the devil (John 8:44; 1 John 3:9, 10; 5:19). As long as a person is physically alive, he can get out of the devil’s family the moment he believes in/on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).

Even though Jesus came to set us free, many Christians are still taking orders from the devil and/or are yielding to the lusts (strong desires) that come from the sin our nature. We become the slaves of those whom we obey (Romans 6:16).

Have you placed your faith in Christ alone to save you? If you’re saved, have you dedicated your body to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1,2)? If not, why not now? When we walk by means of the Spirit, we can’t/won’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).


If you need spiritual help, we can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. Please help us get God’s Word out to others by telling them about this site. Thanks.

[1] Slavery http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html

      Slavery of the mind. http://www.blogos.org/thetakeaway/slavery-of-the-mind.html

[2] Replacement Theology. http://www.gotquestions.org/replacement-theology.html

Clear Gospel: http://www.cleargospel.org/wp-content/uploads/English-Display-Pkg-2014.pdf



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