The Edifier

West Allen Church of Christ

The Edifier Index


Jim Everett

When Jesus had used an illustration about that which is expected of a servant (slave) in the normal course of his duties, He explained that the master owed the slave, not even so much as thanks, for he had done what was his duty to do. By comparison he said, "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do," (Luke 17:7-10). "Command" from a master is his inherent right while "obedience" conveys the necessary, positive, slave's response in the relationship between a master and his slave.

A centurion came to Jesus asking that his servant be healed. Jesus said, "I will come and heal him." But the centurion felt unworthy of Jesus'presence and, based upon his profound respect for Jesus and a clear understanding of authority, said, "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." Jesus commended his great faith (Matt 8:5-10).

However, when the centurion explained why he believed that the word of Jesus was sufficient, he paralleled it with his own circumstance. He was under authority, hence understood what it meant to obey commands. He was also over soldiers and they obeyed his commands. That is the very nature of such relationships -- the master commands; the servant obeys. It is inconceivable that slaves would ever entertain the thought that they could earn the things given them by their masters - as slaves they can only do that which is their duty.

Christians are slaves -- Jesus is the master (Acts 16:17; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 2:16. Christians have been made free from sin in Christ but they are not free  from obedience to Christ's commands. They want to obey their master for they know that the Master said: "If ye love me keep my commandments," (John 14:1-5); "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love..." (15:10); " This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you," (15:12); and, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you," (15:14).

And John, who wrote so much about love, also had much to say about keeping God's commandments: "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him," (1 John 2:4); "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments for this is the love of God that we keep his commandments," (1 John 5:2-3). From which command are we slaves exempt? Which one may we choose not to do? Nary a one!