Slavery Was Common in The Early Church

Slavery existed in South America even before North America, but there was significant differences. In North America slaves lived at a bare subsistence level; the enslaved were mere chattels, bought and sold as such. In South America a slave was treated as a person, not an object. … More

Slavery

In the early church slavery was an established institution and the Christian owed complete obedience to his master. In fact, servants were to strive to do a better job because they were Christians (v.22). At least half of the people were slaves. Many of them carried great responsibilities in the homes of their masters. They often helped to educate and discipline the children. The purpose of the early church was not to abolish slavery but to spread the Gospel and win souls, not to get involved in social action. While it is good for Christians to get involved in the promotion of honesty and morality in government, this must never replace the mandate to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.

Servants were to obey and please God, not just to avoid punishment. Even if their master didn’t commend them they knew that their reward would come from the Lord. In our society we do not have slaves but we can apply these principles to any kind of employment. A Christian worker ought to be the best worker on the job. “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord” (v. 23). According to a recent poll, only 43% of American office workers are satisfied with their jobs. In Japan, the figure dips to 17%. Your work may seem to be tedious. You may want to quit, but remember that you are working for Christ. We need to work so that our Lord can say to us, “Well done good and faithful servant.” We can be sure that we “will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (v. 24). But Christ has no favorites! He will punish evil people, just as they deserve (v. 25). There is to be no partiality, no matter what a person’s position may be, whether he is the slave or the master.

Application

As a bond slave of the Lord Jesus Christ I want to be the best worker on the Job. Every thing I do I want to do heartily for my Lord.

 

Colossians 3:22-25 (English Standard Version)

Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

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