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A Scriptural Challenge to all Christians

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Servant or Slave?

ser·vant - noun - 1. One who is privately employed to perform domestic services. 2. One who is publicly employed to perform services, as for a government. 3. One who expresses submission, recognizance, or debt to another.

slave - noun - 1. One bound in servitude as the property of a person or household. 2. One who is abjectly subservient to a specified person or influence. 3. One who works extremely hard. 4. A machine or component controlled by another machine or component. --attributive. 1. Often used to modify another noun. --slave intr.verb slaved, slav·ing, slaves. 1. To work very hard or doggedly; toil. 2. To trade in or transport slaves.

According to the definitions above, which are from the American Heritage Dictionary, these two attributes are quite different.

The servant is EMPLOYED by a household, government, etc., and presumably could cease that employment anytime they so desired. This is a voluntary but LIMITED submission to the employer, with the limits of obedience being controlled by the servant himself. If he does not like what the employer is demanding of him, or he thinks he can get a better deal somewhere else, he has the option to leave the employment.

The slave, on the other hand, has no such liberty. Once he is bound to a master, that bond endures for his lifetime and is at the pleasure of the master. The slave is required to do whatever the master asks or demands, usually on penalty of severe punishment up to and including death. He must depend on the compassion of the master for fair and humane treatment. If he does not like the treatment he is receiving at the master's hand, he has no recourse but to endure or die.

So when we obey the scripture and enter the body of Yahushua, do we become a "servant" or a "slave" of our Eloah, whose name is Yahuwah? Are we servants under the terms of the first definition, or are we literally slaves as defined by the second one? To quote an old preacher who knew what he was talking about, "What sayeth scripture?"

When servants were spoken of by the writers of the Ibriy (Hebrew) scripture, the word they used to describe these people was 'ebed. As you can see from the definition below, this person was more a slave than a servant. If the person in question and his master were Ibriy, the law of Mosheh (Moses) required that he be given his freedom at the end of seven years, although few Ibriy masters complied with this requirement. If they were not Ibriy, he was a "servant" for life or until his master decided to release him.

So what is the significance of these terms under the perfect law of liberty? Surely since we are under the law of LIBERTY we must be servants and have the ability to choose whether or not we will do certain things.

Actually, this is where many people, who think they are "Christian" and will tell you that they are in obedience to the will of Yahuwah, go wrong. Once you have made the choice to become a follower of Yahushua your life is no longer yours to control. You have made the choice and the promise to surrender your will to the will of our Father, Yahuwah, in totality and while holding nothing back. ChananYahuw (Ananias) and Sappheire (Sapphira) his wife broke that promise to Yahuwah by trying to hold something back as related in Acts 5. Look at what happened to them. Were they servants? Or were they slaves? Under circumstances like these, servants would have been dismissed from service for those actions, while slaves were given the death penalty.

The word from which slave is translated in the above verse is doulos [doo'-los] - G1401. It literally means slave but is never rendered as such in most English versions of scripture. Instead it is rendered as bond, bondman, and servant. From reading this passage and the other near one hundred verses where it is rendered as servant, you would get the impression that our first definition (servant) from the American Heritage Dictionary applied.

In fact, it does not. We are bound to our Sovereign by bonds much stronger than mere employment or paid servitude. We are NOT hired employees. We are bonded! We are bought with a price (1 Korinthios 6:20), and only slaves are bought and paid for. Therefore, we are His slaves, and must act as such. We must TOTALLY surrender our will to His. We must be submerged COMPLETELY in His word and will and never fail to keep it. You cannot be a lukewarm slave (Revelation 3:16) and expect to walk with the Master. This means that in EVERYTHING He has placed in His doctrine, we must be obedient. We CANNOT try to think for ourselves, or we will surely go astray. We MUST be like the Bereans (Acts 17:10-11) and search the scriptures to see if what we are being told is true and acceptable. No matter how small or nit-picking we may think something from scripture is, it remains the word and will of Yahuwah and therefore we MUST obey it when we have confirmed it. We MUST be on fire for the Master. We cannot be hot today and cold tomorrow, or He will literally refuse to accept us as His and we will become reprobate.

We cannot allow man to determine what His doctrines are that we must obey either. We have to determine this for ourselves (like the Bereans again) from His word. Man does not have a good track record in figuring out what Yahuwah requires of us (MattithYahuw [Matthew] 15:9). If he did, would we have so many different religions, faiths, and denominations telling us so many different things that they have determined to be what is required? No! There would be ONE assembly, ONE faith, ONE immersion, as it all MUST BE as it ALL comes from the same TRUE SPIRIT of our Elohiym (Ephesios 4:1-6). Everyone would speak the same thing and be of ONE mind (1 Korinthios 1:10).

So Yahushua has no "servants." Only slaves. If you are His, you will gladly submit to Him in love as His true slave and do as He says for you to do. See Yahuchanan (John) 14:15.

Are there any positions for servants associated with Yahushua? Yes, there are. These servants are still His slaves, but are in the service of His assembly and minister those services to the flock. They are sometimes called deacons, as that is a transliteration of the word, diakonos [dee-ak'-on-os] - G1249, which describes their function in the Greek text. The word literally means an attendant or one who performs menial duties of some kind. Find that word in your Scripture (a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance will help) and trace it through to see all of the functions associated with being a servant OF THE ASSEMBLY. Note that the word is also rendered as minister and servant. This word is the noun form.

The verb form is diakonia [dee-ak-on-ee'-ah] G1248, and means to perform the functions of a diakonos. It is also rendered as (ad-) minister (-ing, -tration, -try), office, relief, and service (-ing).

Do you act the part of His slave? Or just the part of a servant? If you are not totally committed to Him in every way, you are not His and the following words will apply at the judgment.

C.F. Castleberry
http://www.considerthis.net
buck@considerthis.net