Slave of a Greater Master

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 12, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” ~Romans 6:22

You and I are slaves. You might not know it, you might not like it, but whether or not you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are a slave. Those who have accepted Jesus as the Lord of their lives are his slaves. Those who have not yet accepted Jesus as their Lord are, by default, slaves to sin. The message of life is that we who were once sinners, by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, have become unbound to sin, have bound sin away, and have become bound to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

One of the best examples for displaying the difference between slavery to sin and slavery to righteousness are none other than Cain and Abel. Most of us know the story from Genesis 4 of how Abel made an offering to God that was acceptable, Cain made an offering to God that was unacceptable, and the results were that Abel was commended by God while Cain’s sacrifice was not looked upon with favor. The story ends in tragedy as Cain murders Abel and is once again confronted by God.

Cain had become a slave to sin. We do not know a lot about his life but apparently his first sin led to worse sins which led to his offspring becoming even more sinful. After his first transgression, God warned him, “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7). Sin is a cruel master. Because Cain failed to master his sin, he was marked and exiled from the land of his family.

The slavery of sin is burdensome. It exalts the cruel and miserable, and it punishes the righteous and faithful. Slave owner Arthur William Hodge was well known for his brutality. One day an unfortunate slave named Prosper had failed to catch a mango that had fallen off of one of his master’s trees and was charged by Hodge for the full price of that mango. As a slave Prosper had no money for which to pay back the lost mango. Hodge then had Prosper restrained and whipped him for an hour straight. Because Prosper could not pay back the price of the mango on the spot, Hodge then had him tied to a tree upon which he was beaten again until his body became fully exhausted and he died.

Not to incriminate the Law of Moses, but I would feel as Prosper living under this law. It’s over six hundred laws that dictate the activity of everyday life. Whenever you fail to live up to the law, there are consequences. Under the rule of the Pharisees, one would feel as though they are being beaten to death for the sake that it would be impossible to satisfy the demands of these self-righteous “slave masters.”  But where the carnal law exposed our total inability to satisfy God’s standards, where the law that exposed condemnation was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

It is apparent that Abel knew the requirements for an appropriate sacrifice to God. I have little doubt that Cain was aware as well. Instead of short-changing God as his brother did, Abel chose to honor him with the finest of his cattle. He knew that he served a good and generous God and he should therefore not be reluctant in giving back to God what was already his. Give the finest back to the king, as he allows us to partake in all that he owns. Abel was a wise man. And yet the slave master of sin was displeased with his righteousness and compelled its slave to murder the righteous slave.

The righteous slave master, God, is not a burden upon those who are his. He makes living under him joyful and preferable to any other alternative. It would have been less of a burden if Cain had simply acknowledged God’s warning to him and went on to honor God with holy sacrifices instead of weeds and thistles (I have no idea what he actually offered, but probably not weeds and thistles in a literal sense). Many people think that defiance to God is liberating and frees them from the yoke of slavery. But Cain’s words should haunt anyone who accepts this notion: “My punishment is more than I can bear” (Genesis 4:13). Those who defy God fear the prospect of death. Those who have enslaved themselves to him do not even fear death, for they know that their destination is nothing less than the King’s royal palace.

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