Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
If I were a slave, Lord Jesus, owned by another person, owned by a Christian person, and your apostle told me to obey my earthly master as I would obey You, I could be very tempted to doubts and to giving up Christianity. I could argue that being a Christian has certainly not changed my situation as I hoped it would. Why wouldn’t Your apostle command my Christian master to give me my freedom? Where is the justice? Where is the compassion?
But when Paul reminds me that I am a bondservant to You, Lord, I have no qualms about it. I willingly serve You as your slave. I owe everything to you. You own my life and I willingly embrace that and want to serve you from a sincere heart. And the fact that You will reward me for such service blows my mind. I don’t deserve that!
And commanding masters to “do the same thing,” to live as Your bondservants and do Your will from the heart, this could certainly lead to real changes in the way I am treated and reminds me that the Christian life is not about righting all the wrongs that are here in this world before the kingdom comes. It is about demonstrating the righteousness of the kingdom despite all that is wrong continuing to make it countercultural to live as Your followers. How else will people see that You really do transform our lives? You don’t just change our conditions, You change our hearts.