Many people were slaves at the time when Paul wrote this letter. Life was often hard for them; many of them had cruel masters.
Some slaves had become Christians. Paul told them that they must continue to work for their masters. Of course, they could do nothing else; the law forced them to serve their masters. However, that fact should not upset the slave who is a Christian. Even in that difficult situation, a Christian has the opportunity to serve God. And in Godís plans, that personís work for God can be as important as any other Christianís work.
Godís opinion about a person matters much more than anyone elseís opinion about that person. Even when a Christian must work as someoneís slave, God does not consider that Christian a slave. By the death of Christ, God made that person free. So that person really is a free person in Godís opinion (Galatians 5:1).
It is a great honour for a slave if someone declares that slave to be free. It is an even greater honour when God has declared that person free.
So, Christian slaves receive special honour. But Christians who do not work as slaves must remember to be humble. They may be free people - but they belong to God. It is both a duty and an honour to serve God.
That fact is a good reason why Christians should never be proud. The greatest Christian must serve other people; the most important Christian considers himself a slave (Mark 10:43-44).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.