by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1 Lincolnton, NC February 12, 2006
1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 Let as many as are servants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed.
2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. These things teach and exhort.
I. Paul's Focus Upon Servitude.
A. His fundamental concern is that God might be "blasphemed".
1. The issue of "blasphemy" is the issue of misrepresentation.
2. Since God is, Himself, a "servant" in the highest and most profound sense, and since the essence of human rebellion has always been to reject that identity, "Christians" are the only "opportunity" for God to "set the record straight".
3. It is a fundamental blasphemy for men to declare that God wants men to be "free" from what is, in reality, a most fundamental characteristic of both God and His entire creation.
a. Paul pointedly said (in 1 Corinthians 7:22) that "...he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord'sfreeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ'sservant.
1) This has to mean that it really makes no difference atall whether a person is another person's slave ornot. The issues of "Life" are not wrapped up in "free will", or the ability to "decide for oneself" what one will, or will not, do. The truth is that "Life" is the possession of the one whose attitude is free from the bondage of rebellion against love. There is no one in this universe who is "free" from "necessity". Even the person who is most rebellious against being "directed" by someone else is "directed" by issues that are beyond his own, personal, control. Even God, whom many men extol as "free", is "constrained" by His own character and love so that He does what He "must".
2) The other side of this coin is that God's "self-constraint" is accompanied by an attitude of purest "joy" in that He does not resist Himself. In this, there is yet another side to the "blasphemy" issue: those who either do not submit, or do so with an attitude of animosity, are presenting a false picture of God.
b. The fact is that as long as there have been multiple personalities in existence, there has been a most fundamental "necessity" that each serve the other. And, since there has never been a "single person Reality", there has never been a time when being a servant has not been a fundamental "necessity" of Reality.
1) It is only rebellion against love that destroys "Life".
2) Thus, any who are in rebellion against love are "blasphemers".
3) In the wisdom of God, those are most "free" who are least concerned about where the marching orders are coming from, or who gets to generate them. The person who is most free is the person who realizes that "Life" is not about "freedom", but about "the righteousness of joy". Therefore, even those who are the most deeply involved in "conflict" that is arising out of the demands of those in rebellion against love are "free" -- because "Life" is not, ultimately, about freedom from conflict; it is about responding to it properly. The most difficult task is that one which requires that we determine whether we must "conflict" with another over demands that that "other" is making. Should we resist the thief who seeks to take what is not his? What if the thief is the king? What is a "slave" to do in a situation in which the "master" is raping the female slaves?