The Slavery of the Saints

In the Greek, Titus 1:1-4 is one long sentence that is jammed-packed with rich truths. When these truths are understood by believers, they change they way we live. Although Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ, notice what word he uses first to describe himself; in the: Amplified, NASB, NKJV we see the word “bondservant”. In the ESV, NIV, KJV we read the word “servant”. The translation that I like best (for this verse) is the Message which says, “I, Paul, am God’s slave”.

The Greek word Paul used (doulos) is literally translated “slave”. This word describes a person who is bound to their master to the point they live their life in full surrender to their master’s will. The goal for the day (every day) for this type of a slave is to please their master by serving him. The slave's heart of service is demonstrated by their desire to prepare their master a meal and serve him while he eats before they take time to eat.

  • On the surface this sounds like a position that no one would desire to have however, Paul’s use of the word has an OT throwback sense;
    • Exodus 21:5-6 & Deuteronomy 15:12-16
      • If a Hebrew man or woman owed a debt to another Hebrew that they couldn’t pay, they would become a slave for six years.
      • At the Seventh year, the slave was set free.
      • In addition to being set free, the Master was commanded to give the former slave;
        • Liberally from his own flock
        • Liberally grain from the threshing floor
        • Liberally wine from the winepress
        • So the former slave wouldn’t begin his ‘new life’ in poverty only to become a slave again
      • But if at the end of the 6 years the slave said, “I will not go away because I love you” – the Master was to have the slaves ear pierced showing the slave willingly remained a slave for the rest of his life to his master!
      • This slave that said, “I Love you and I will not depart” is the thought behind the word Doulos!

    • Application: This deep devotion to God is not reserved for the apostles only! You see, each of us were born into sin (Ps. 51:5), we all committed sins and were therefore ‘slaves to sin’ (John 8:34).
      • Guess what the word for ‘slave’ is in John 8:34 – doulos!
      • You see, the problem for believers is not being a slave,
        • Romans 6:22 – We have been set free from sin, and having become slaves to God
        • 1 Corinthians 6:20 – We were bought with a price and we are to glorify God in our body and spirit = both belong to God
        • 1 Peter 1:18-20 – we were redeemed (purchased) by the precious blood of Jesus!
      • The problem for saints is falling out of love with your former master after you have been freed and devoting your affections to your new master for the rest of your life

Illustration: How do you think my wife (or any wife for that matter) would feel if she logged onto my Facebook and found inbox messages between an ex-girlfriend of mine and I? How do you think she would feel if these messages were not old but current? Her heart would be broken because 10 1/2 yrs of marriage would have be compromised. In addition, my witness for Christ would be tarnished!

Application: 1 John 2:15-17 declares that if we love the world’s system the love of the Father is not in us.

Reflection Questions:

  • Who has your affection, the world & sin, or God?

  • If God were to go through your heart, what memento's from your 'ex' the “world” would He find? 

  • Are you living in accountable relationships with the brothers/sisters in your local body, so they can help you with getting over your ex the world?

TheologyD.A. Horton