“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)
” . . . choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
So there it is, I do have to choose. I can only belong to and serve one master. Paul understood this and explained it in his letter to the church at Rome. Slavery was common at that time, so Paul’s readers understood well the concept of belonging to and serving only one master. Their quality of life depended totally on what sort of a person their master was. They were completely at the mercy of the one who owned them; the one they served.
Their only hope for a better life would be to be purchased by another master who might perhaps be more benevolent and generous than their previous one. But a price would have to be paid in order to change their situation. And a slave had no way to pay any kind of a price to free themselves from their current master. A slave was wholly dependent on the mercy of his master, if his situation was ever going to change.
Paul reminds his readers that they were slaves to sin but they now have a choice whom they serve because someone has paid their price. “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, . . . You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18) How did this happen?
I was born belonging to one master. I was a slave to sin, self and Satan’s lies, courtesy of Adam and Eve’s decision in the Garden. My situation was hopeless-But God- God had a plan- a plan to buy me back, a plan to pay my price, a plan to set me free from sin’s bondage. ” . . . You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) I was bought with a price, I have a new master. But just what was that price?
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
“You are worthy (Jesus) to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
Satan doesn’t want me to know that my price has been paid in full. He no longer owns me, sin is no longer my master. “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ ” (John 8:34-36)
Paul told his readers, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, . . . You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18)
There it is again, the truth that I now belong to a new master. My old master was delivering me over to death, my new Master wants to give me eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
I am free to choose and to serve a new master. My old master, sin, does not own me anymore because Jesus paid that debt and bought my freedom. So why would I stay, continuing to serve my old master, now that I am free to leave? Do I not know my debt is paid? Do I not believe it? Do I not know that I am now free? Satan wants me to continue to believe the lie that I am his and powerless to leave. But John 8:32 tells me, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Satan doesn’t want me to know the truth. The truth that Jesus paid my debt with His blood and I am free from sin’s bondage. I do have a new master. (with much better benefits) In fact, Romans 8:15-17 tells me, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”
From slave to son to heir! This is wonderful news to me, to someone who was working for wages that led to death to instead receive the gift of eternal life. This is nothing short of a miracle! It was changing masters that made all the difference. Who I serve determines my destiny. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 16:25)
But I was not able to leave my first master until someone paid my price, purchased me from the master that held me in bondage while paying me death wages. Jesus paid my debt on the cross when He “purchased me for God.” That is the truth that sets me free. I don’t have to stay with my old master anymore, he no longer owns me. I can serve a new master who wants me to call Him “Father”, One who knows my name and has engraved it on the palms of His hands, One who knows every hair on my head; One who sees every tear that falls from my eyes, One who hears me when I cry out to Him; a master who rejoices over me with singing; a master who knows every word on my tongue before I speak it; a master who loves me with an everlasting love!
This is a no-brainer! Having been set free, why would I ever return to my old master? Those who received Paul’s letter understood the reality of being enslaved to a master all too well. They knew that they were not free to leave their master, that their situation was hopeless unless someone came along and bought them from their master by paying their debt. And then — the good news: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. . . . God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8) And with His death, Jesus Christ paid our debt!
I rejoice in being a slave to righteousness because there is great freedom in serving this new master. “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
thank you, Heavenly Father, for paying the price that set me free to serve You and You alone, because I cannot serve two masters.
sincerely, Grace Day