November 18, 2012
Often the toughest relationships in our lives in which to consistently and selflessly reflect the character of God are those that are closest to us. For the 21st century American home, our closest relationships are often with our spouse, our children and our parents. This was also true for any 1st century AD Greek home, save one relationship: the master/slave relationship. Though the Bible unequivocally declares the sanctity and dignity of all life, it also does not hide from us the realities of sinful social orders that existed during the time of its authorship, such as slavery. This week we allow the Word of God to challenge who we are to be as a spouse, parent and child, while learning that, even in the midst of sinful social order, Christ is Lord of our lives.
Note from the Pastor: My goal in preaching this passage was to approach it directly, without hiding details or hiding completely from these difficult and unpopular topics. Abusive relationships and slavery of any kind is sinful and does not reflect the goodness of God or the quality of God’s character. Rather, it reflects our own sinful nature as humans. Paul addressed slaves and masters because they were a part of an already established Hellenistic social order of the home. He, as well as Jesus, chose to address the enslaved condition of the government of our heart to sin, rather than reforming the social order of governments proper. In setting us free from sin, Jesus gives us the freedom to pursue holiness and righteousness in the social order of life, which involves advocating for the sanctity and dignity of all life.