Friday, February 18, 2011

"Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ": A Book Review

The author is clear on the issue:

"...the Bible uses one metaphor more frequently than any of these. It is a word picture you might not expect, but it is absolutely critical for understanding what it means to follow Jesus. It is the image of a slave. ... the earliest believers referred to themselves in the New Testament as the Lord's slaves. For them, the two ideas were synonymous. to be a Christian was to be a slave of Christ." (pp. 12-13)

Over the next 200 plus pages, author John MacArthur carefully, forcefully, but clearly supports his premise that, for some time, Christians have not understand the true meaning of being a Christian due to the translation of the Greek word "doulos" to the English "servant" instead of its true meaning: "slave". MacArthur examines the view of ancient history concerning this truth and then presents the truth of the "master-slave" concept from the Scripture. For example, he writes:

"Jesus also used slave language to define the reality of what it means to follow Him. Discipleship, like slavery, entails a life of total self-denial, a humble disposition toward others, a wholehearted devotion to the Master alone, a willingness to obey His commands in everything, an eagerness to serve Him even in His absence, and a motivation that comes from knowing He is well pleased. Though they were once the slaves of sin, Christ's followers receive spiritual freedom and rest for their souls through their saving relationship with Him. Against the historical backdrop of slavery, our Lord's call to self-sacrifice becomes that much more vivid. A slave's life was one of complete surrender, submission, and service to the master--and the people of Jesus' day would have immediately recognized the parallel. Christ's invitation to follow Him was an invitation to that same kind of life." (p. 43)

The book consists of 225 pages divided into 13 chapters. Furthermore, there is a tremendous appendix entitled "Voices from Church History" containing quotes from various Christian scholars throughout the centuries supporting the concepts espoused in the book.

Simply stated, this book is a tremendous work and well worth the time it takes to read and devour. I sincerely wish every church-going person would do so. Some of them will discover they are still a slave to sin. Others will discover they have failed to obey their Master. In any case, the church will be blessed and the Lord will be glorified.

May each of us grasped the meaning of our slavery to Christ.

"The glorious reality is that, for all of eternity as His slaves, you and I and every other believer from all of human history will joyfully worship and exalt our heavenly Master--the King of kings and the Lord of lords." (p. 38)

I would truly hope those who read this new work by John MacArthur would come away converted, grateful, and committed.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing a copy of this book for review. No other compensation was provided.