Even in more recent history, in spite of the confusion caused by English translations, leading scholars and pastors have recognized the reality of this vital concept.34 Listen to the words of Charles Spurgeon—the great British preacher of the nineteenth century:
Where our Authorized [King James] Version softly puts it “servant” it really is “bond-slave.” The early saints delighted to count themselves Christ’s absolute property, bought by him, owned by him, and wholly at his disposal. Paul even went so far as to rejoice that he had the marks of his Master’s brand on him, and he cries, “Let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” There was the end of all debate: he was the Lord’s, and the marks of the scourges, the rods, and the stones were the broad-arrow of the King which marked Paul’s body as the property of Jesus the Lord. Now if the saints of old time gloried in obeying Christ, I pray that you and I . . . may feel that our first object in life is to obey our Lord.35
Scottish pastor Alexander Maclaren, a contemporary of Spurgeon, echoed these same truths:
The true position, then, for a man is to be God’s slave. . . . Absolute submission, unconditional obedience, on the slave’s part; and on the part of the Master complete ownership, the right of life and death, the right of disposing of all goods and chattels, . . . the right of issuing commandments without a reason, the right to expect that those commandments shall be swiftly, unhesitatingly, punctiliously, and completely performed—these things inhere in our relation to God. Blessed [is] the man who has learned that they do, and has accepted them as his highest glory and the security of his most blessed life! For, brethren, such submission, absolute and unconditional, the blending and the absorption of my own will in His will, is the secret of all that makes manhood glorious and great and happy. . . . [I]n the New Testament these names of slave and owner are transferred to Christians and Jesus Christ.36
As these voices from church history make so abundantly clear, our slavery to Christ has radical implications for how we think and live. We have been bought with a price. We belong to Christ. We are part of a people for His own possession. And understanding all of that changes everything about us, starting with our perspective and our priorities.
True Christianity is not about adding Jesus to my life. Instead, it is about devoting myself completely to Him—submitting wholly to His will and seeking to please Him above all else. It demands dying to self and following the Master, no matter the cost. In other words, to be a Christian is to be Christ’s slave. Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ by John MacArthur