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Chapter 70


God’s Slaves


“And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen….For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 25:35-55)


I call you to the most ennobling, honorable, and honoring of all things. I am recruiting slaves. I am calling upon you to voluntarily put yourself into slavery, taking the Lord Jesus Christ as your Master (Matthew 11:28-30). Since the Lord God has redeemed us, since he has saved us by his grace, he claims us as his slaves (vv. 42, 55).[1]


Read this chapter carefully, and you will see that the Lord claimed rule over the children of Israel, dictating to them what they were to be and do in all things. He claimed the rule of their property, their families, their time, their money, their affections, even their attitude toward one another and their enemies.


Such a claim is only reasonable. It is only reasonable that we consecrate ourselves to him as voluntary slaves, devoted in all things to him, his honor, his will, and his glory (Romans 12:1-2). The Holy Spirit tells us exactly what this slavery is in 1 Corinthians 6.


“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)


“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-21)


Blessed Fact


Here is a blessed fact. — “Ye are bought with a price!” — “Ye are bought.” — This is that idea of redemption which modern heretics dare to style “mercantile.” The mercantile redemption is the scriptural one, for the expression “bought with a price” is a double declaration of that idea. Christ effectually bought us out from under the curse of the law. All he bought with his blood, the Lord Jesus Christ has sought us out, is seeking out, and will seek out by his almighty, effectual, irresistible grace of his Holy Spirit. And those who are sought out by him shall be brought out from among the fallen sons of Adam to him at the appointed time of love.


Ye are bought with a price!” — How great the cost! How great the sacrifice! The Father gave his darling Son. The Son of God gave himself for us. The Lord Jesus Christ gave everything for us. Then he laid down his life for us!


(2 Corinthians 8:9) “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”


(1 Peter 1:18-20) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”


How can we measure the price of our redemption? Measure it in the light of dark Gethsemane and the agony there experienced by our Savior, as he anticipated the horror of being made sin for us. Measure the price of our souls’ ransom by the pain of our Lord’s betrayal by Judas, by his humiliation in Pilate’s judgment hall. Ever measure the cost of your soul’s redemption by the light of Calvary. There the Lord Jesus was made sin for us, made a curse for us, punished for us, and died for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him!


Both our body and spirit are bought with the precious blood of Christ. This is either a fact, or it is not. — “Ye are bought,” or ye are unredeemed. Are you redeemed? If you are, if this is a fact, it is the fact of your life. Wonder of wonders — I am redeemed! If you are redeemed, this will remain to you eternally the grandest of all facts. If true at all, it will never cease to be true; and it will never be outdone in importance by any other event.


I’m redeemed, by blood divine!

Glory! Glory! — Christ is mine!

All to Him I now resign!

I have been redeemed!


This fact, the fact that we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, ought to operate powerfully upon our lives. This ought to be the most powerful influence there is upon our hearts, the most powerful governing principle of our lives.


Blessed Loss


Here is a blessed loss. — “Ye are not your own.” You are not your own provider. Sheep are fed by their shepherd. You are not your own guide. Ships are steered by their pilot. You are not your own father. Children are loved and cared for by their parents. We are not our own to waste in idleness, amusement, or making ourselves rich. We are not our own to use. And we are not our own to rule. We belong to God.


We read in Deuteronomy 26, — “Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God…And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people!” How honored we are to avouch that the triune Jehovah is our God, declaring by our baptism and our confessed faith that we are his, chosen, redeemed, called, and devoted by faith to him. But how indescribably blessed it is to have the triune Jehovah avouch that we are his! As soon as the sinner looks to Christ in faith, trusting him as his only Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption, he has within him God’s own avouched assurance that he is God’s! The blood of Christ sprinkled on the heart, the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost gives assurance that “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3). It is this avouchment, that we are God’s property, that was confessed in the tithes of the law, and is confessed in the free, voluntary gifts of God’s saints in the house of God week by week.


Blessed Slavery


Here is a blessed slavery. — “Your body and your spirit, which are God’s.” My brother, my sister in Christ, we belong to God our Savior. — By Creation — By Sovereign Predestination — By Eternal Election — By Special Redemption — By Irresistible Grace — By Voluntary Surrender. — We are altogether God’s. — Body and spirit include the whole man. We are God’s people and God’s property. We are always God’s. The price once paid, we are forever his.


Blessed Responsibility


Here is a blessed responsibility. — “Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:12-17). And glorify God in your spirit. It is both our privilege and our desire, as well as our responsibility to live in this world for the glory of God, only for the glory of God, and always for the glory of God.


            Let us daily seek his grace, that our God may give us wisdom and grace day by day to honor him, to honor the gospel of his grace, and to bring no reproach upon his name, his gospel, or his church. Compel me, by the sweet, irresistible constraint of your Spirit, my God, to “have a perfect balance and just weight, a perfect and just measure” in all my dealings with men in this world.


Blessed Example


Here is a blessed example of what it is to be God’s slave (Isaiah 42:1-4). Our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s own darling Son, voluntarily became the Servant of the triune God that he might save us by his grace.


            Yes, Jehovah’s righteous Servant is God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Exodus 21:5-6; Psalm 40:6-10; Isaiah 50:5-7; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 10:5-14). The Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily became his Father’s Servant to redeem and save his people (Isaiah 50:5-7). He is that One to whom the law of God referred in Exodus 21:5-6. The bond slave who refused his freedom because he loved his master, his wife, and his children was typical of our Savior. In the covenant of grace, before the world began, the Son of God voluntarily made himself his Father’s Servant, because he loved his Father, and his chosen family.


            It was in this capacity that he spoke in Psalms 40:6-10. Hebrews 10:5-14 explains that the words of our Lord in Psalm 40 referred to his obedience unto death as our Substitute, by which the Lord of glory obtained the everlasting salvation of his chosen. Our great Savior came into the world in the fulness of time to fulfill his covenant engagements as Jehovah’s Servant. And when he had fulfilled those covenant engagements, his people were redeemed, sanctified, and perfected forever by his finished work.


            This is the basis of our Lord’s exaltation and glory, the means by which he obtained the monarchy of the universe as the God-man, our Mediator (Psalm 2:8; John 17:1-5; Romans 14:9; Philippians 2:5-11). And this is the basis of my appeal to you. — Volunteer to be God’s slave forever!


“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)


“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)







Don Fortner








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[1] This passage is not to be read as an endorsement of slavery by God. Rather, the Lord God used that which was the custom of the day to teach us the gospel of his grace. The Word of God addresses men and women where they are. He does the same thing in 1 Corinthians 11, using the customary veil of the day as a symbol of a woman’s modesty and submission to her husband. That passage no more requires women to wear a veil in public worship than this passage teaches us to practice slavery.