1 Timothy 6:1-2 (CSB) All who are under the yoke as slaves should regard their own masters as worthy of all respect, so that God’s name and his teaching will not be blasphemed. Let those who have believing masters not be disrespectful to them because they are brothers, but serve them even better, since those who benefit from their service are believers and dearly loved.
For those who would say the Bible promotes Western colonization and slavery, there is the context of three nations: Israel, Greco-Roman, and Euro-American slavery.
An complete oversimplification of slavery within these nations:
- Israel - paying off debt
- Greco-Roman - military conquest and maybe paying off debt
- Euro-American - every step of the process, treason against the Lord our God
God strictly forbids kidnapping. And those who were kidnapped to be sold into slavery did not owe a debt to the ones kidnapping or to purchasing. And the treatment of slaves is well-documented: cruel, brutal, horrific, and barbaric.
If any slave owner did not repent of their horrific sins, then we know, by the word of God, they sit under the wrath of God for all of eternity. I don’t care how many Sundays they attended church. I honestly don’t care. I know my Lord and God spoke clearly of their sin and in their own sin, choose to ignore and reject their God.
All that said, that is not the point of this passage. Neither is the point to give honor to your employers–for surely, we are to do that:
Colossians 3:22 - 4:1 (CSB) Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong he has done, and there is no favoritism.
Masters, deal with your slaves justly and fairly, since you know that you too have a Master in heaven.
Here’s the gospel upon my life: to be a slave and a bondservant to my Christ:
1 Corinthians 7:21-24 (CSB) Were you called while a slave? Don’t let it concern you. But if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity. For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people. Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called.
Romans 8:14-21 (CSB) For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children.
Bible is crystal clear: for us to be absolutely, actually, and perfectly free, we must be slaves to Christ.
To be slave to sin, man, and Satan never brings freedom nor salvation nor satisfaction! But when we have bonded ourselves, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Lord who has purchased us not with gold or goods, but with His life.
He gave his life for his people. In turn, the people joyfully give their lives over to our Lord. It is only in this that we are saved.
How many times did you rescue me from my sins from death from disease from my own wickedness from own despair. I see your body broken for me I see your blood covering me in my own iniquities I see your life given up so I might live. Then, I call to you to be my Lord and my God. I call to you and I know that you will answer because you are my Savior and my King and Redeemer and my Christ. I will love you with all that I have. Amen.