Summary: Living The Perfect Pattern
Today, what we do is we come to Part 6 of Identity Check: Living a Verified Life. If you have your Bible, I want you to open with me to the book of 1 Peter and go down to chapter 2, and I want you to find verse 18. In verse 18, it says, "Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust." Then, if you'll drop down to verse 21, it says, "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps."
I want you to understand this morning… One of the first things I want to say is for one human to own another human is never the image of God. It is not the gospel. It is not the fellowship of the gospel. When one human owns another human, it is always an injustice, and it is not right. Slavery, servanthood that still exists around the world even as we speak, is never God's plan. It was never God's intention. It is very dehumanizing, and it is an injustice, and it's not compatible with the kingdom of God.
Today, in our text, I felt like I needed to give you a few handles to navigate this passage, because any time you mention slavery or servanthood, one of the first things that takes place especially in our day and age is our mind immediately rushes to the slavery that happened just before the Civil War, which is dehumanizing, and it's horrible. Yet, there was slavery of the past. All the way back as far as human history, there has always been slavery.
One of the things I wanted to do as a pastor today, instead of taking right off and begin to go into my message and preach, is I felt like today, what I needed to do a little bit is do a little bit of teaching. I needed to do a little bit of education in order to give you a few handles in order for you to be able to navigate this passage and, of course, what Peter is going to say in the passages to come when it comes to, "Wives, submit to your husbands…" and all of these different things Peter is going to say. There has to be a foundation.
There is a lot of difference. Number one, again, I want you to understand that slavery is always wrong in any form you would ever find. Okay? If you're not very careful, you can read the Bible through the lens that it almost looks like a pro-slavery document, but in fact, it is really the very opposite. There were a lot of rights given, and it is a progressive revelation.
For instance, there are a lot of things I could stand up here to say to you today. If you have any questions afterward, certainly come see me, but one of the things I cannot do is go into all the ins and outs of it. I just want to kind of give you just a couple of distinctions. Number one, when we think about the slavery that happened to the African American slaves before the Civil War, it was race-based. There was no way out.
We've read things in school, and we know how horrible that is. When you go back to an Old Testament, and you go back into the New Testament times, what you find is a slavery that at times can be just as bad, but there were also people who gave themselves over to slavery in order for them to survive. In African American slavery, you couldn't buy your way out. In the biblical slavery scenarios, after seven years, you had to be released.
Again, it wasn't race-based. There were all kinds of things going on with slavery in the Old Testament. There were doctors and lawyers and even some of the elite who had given themselves over in order to better their family, but the bottom line is it was still not anything God would have certainly created, recommended, or is for, because again, for one human to own another human is not compatible with the image of God. Can I get an, "Amen"?
One of the things about the gospel I want everybody to understand and grapple with is this. The gospel is not about overthrowing any cultural injustice in a vacuum. Okay? What the gospel is about is overthrowing the very mindset or the worldview that leads to any injustices whatsoever. Do you hear me?
That's one of the things you have to understand, because the Bible, a lot of times, doesn't come along and begin to address certain things in a black and white way. What it does is it comes and it moves us from where we are to where we will eventually be. What it does is it's something that looks toward a future where there are no more injustices. Can I get an, "Amen"?