Slavery (Part 2)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.
III. The definitions of the words shows that there is a clear distinction between slaves and servants. 1. Slave - n. I. 1. a. One who is the property of, and entirely subject to, another person, whether by capture, purchase, or birth; a servant completely divested of freedom and personal rights. 2. Servant - n. A person of either sex who is in the service of a master or mistress; one who is under obligation to work for the benefit of a superior, and to obey his (or her) commands. 1. A personal or domestic attendant; one whose duty is to wait upon his master or mistress, or do certain work in his or her household. (The usual sense when no other is indicated by the context; sometimes with defining word, as domestic servant.) 3. Obligation - 1. The action of binding oneself by oath, promise, or contract to do or forbear something; an agreement whereby one person is bound to another, or two or more persons are mutually bound; also, that to which one binds oneself, a formal promise. 4. Master - 1. a. gen. One having direction or control over the action of another or others; a director, leader, chief, commander; a ruler, governor. 5. Notice that a servant is under obligation to work for the benefit of another. A. An obligation is something that one enters into voluntarily and subjects oneself to. B. A servant works for and obeys another person (see definition). C. Therefore a servant, in a strict sense, is one who voluntarily works for and obeys another person for his benefit. D. A slave, on the other hand, is the property of another and has no freedom or personal rights (see definition). E. Every slave is a servant, but every servant is not a slave. F. Every person who is an employee of an employer is a servant. i. Employee - n. a. A person employed for wages; b. (nonce-use.) Something that is employed. ii. Employed - ppl. adj. That is in (another's) employ. iii. Employ - n. 1. The action of employing a person or making use of a thing; = Employment iv. Employment - n. 1. a. The action or process of employing; the state of being employed. b. The service (of a person). v. Employ - v. 3. To use the services of (a person) in a professional capacity, or in the transaction of some special business; to have or maintain (persons) in one's service. vi. Service - n. I. The condition of being a servant; the fact of serving a master. 1. The condition, station, or occupation of being a servant. II. The work or duty of a servant; the action of serving a master. 6. a. Performance of the duties of a servant; attendance of servants; work done in obedience to and for the benefit of a master. vii. Employer - n. a. One who employs. Const. of. b. spec. One who employs servants, workmen, etc. for wages. 6. The N.T. allows for people to be servants of others. 7. Servants are supposed to be obedient to their masters (Eph 6:5; Col 3:22; 1Pe 2:18). A. Servants should serve their masters as if they are serving Christ (Eph 6:5-7; Co 3:23). B. God will reward servants who serve their masters as if they are serving Christ (Eph 6:8; Col 3:24). 8. Servants who are "under the yoke" should honor their masters (1Ti 6:1). A. Yoke - III. 8. fig. or in fig. phr. a. Denoting servitude, subjection, restraint, humiliation, oppression, etc. B. They should not despise them if they are believers (1Ti 6:2). 9. Masters must treat their servants well (Eph 6:9). 10. Notice that these servants are to be paid what is fair by their masters (Col 4:1). A. If they are to be given what is just and equal, then they therefore have personal property and are not the property of their masters, and therefore they are not slaves. B. They are servants that do service for their masters just like people today who are employees of an employer. C. The employee is the servant and the employer is the master. D. This is not referring to servants who were slaves in the sense of being the possessions of their masters whom they stole or bought (after he was stolen), since they were paid, and since such a thing is condemned elsewhere in scripture. 11. God says to abide in the condition we are in when we are called, either as a servant or a freeman (1Co 7:20-21). A. There is clearly nothing wrong with being a servant, even if you are a Christian. B. Though these verses contrast being a servant with being free, they are not necessarily referring to slaves (see definition of servant). i. If one is a voluntary servant (an employee), he is still not free in the areas and conditions in which he has agreed to serve his master (employer). ii. Employees must obey their employers and are not free to do as they please. C. Even if a servant is a slave which has sold himself to a master due to poverty, excessive debt, or being a surety for someone else's debt, there is still nothing wrong with it. D. In either case (a servant (employee), or a slave), if the person has opportunity to be free, they should opt for it (1Co 7:21). E. We are all servants one way or the other, either of men, or of the Lord, or of both (1Co 7:22). F. We should never be servants of men in the same we way we are servants of Christ (religiously or spiritually) because Christ alone owns us (1Co 7:23). II. Summary of the prohibitions and allowances of slavery or servitude in the NT. 1. The NT forbids kidnapping (menstealing) and therefore prohibits the type of slavery in which a person is stolen and forced into servitude, such as was the case with much of the slavery in the US up to and including the 19th century. 2. The NT does allow for a person to be bond (In a state of serfdom or slavery; not free; in bondage). This state of bondage could be the result of: A. selling oneself to be another man's servant because one was in extreme poverty. B. selling oneself (or being sold) to be another man's servant because one was in excessive debt. C. selling oneself (or being sold) to be another man's servant because one was surety for another man's debt. 3. The NT also allows for a person to voluntarily become another man's servant in exchange for compensation, such as an employee and employer relationship. III. Did the OT allow for slavery? 1. First of all, remember that law of Moses was for Israel and none other (Psa 147:19-20). A. The OT was abolished by the death and resurrection of Christ (2Co 3:6-13; Gal 3:19; Eph 2:15; Col 2:14-17). B. The NT replaced the OT (Heb 8:13). C. Therefore if a law is not reiterated in the NT, then it is not binding on us today. 2. Israelites were able to buy servants who were foreigners for money (Exo 12:44; Lev 22:11). 3. Israelites could buy a Hebrew servant, but could only keep him six years and then had to let him go free on the seventh year (Exo 21:2; Deu 15:12). A. He wasn't to be sent away empty, but furnished liberally with provisions (Deu 15:13-14). B. The master was supposed to send him away gladly and God would bless him for it (Deu 15:18). C. If the servant was single when he came, he would leave single, and if he was married when he came, he would take his wife with him (Exo 21:3). D. If his master gave him a wife and he had children with her, he would be free to go, but the wife and the children would be the master's (Exo 21:4). i. This law would seem unfair to some people. ii. Keep in mind that this servant was a Hebrew and knew the law, so he would not have had to take the wife and have children. iii. He could have waited to marry until after he was free. iv. God's ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts (Isa 55:8-9). v. Let God be true and every man a liar (Rom 3:4). E. If the servant loved his master and his wife and children and didn't want to go free, then his master would take him before the judges and bore a hole in his ear with an aul and he would be his servant for life (Exo 21:5-6; Deu 15:16-17).