Comic 5 - The Cross of Grime Alley page 04

12th Sep 2016, 2:00 PM in The Cross of Grime Alley
The Cross of Grime Alley page 04
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Author Notes:

GospelmanMinistries 12th Sep 2016, 2:00 PM edit delete
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Today's commentary:

First, about the minor things, then about the major things (the lesson in the text).

I'm still channeling Batman here when he says things like, "People don't change." Ever seen or read a Batman story in which everyone believes it when a villain turns a new leaf and is reformed, but Batman doesn't believe it and, in his paranoia, stalks them to high-heaven? Sadly, in his stories, he's always right; the villain is just faking it. But, in his defense, I don't believe any of his villains or supporting characters ever turned to Christ (DC editors have been known to be against such suggestions in the past, such as when writer Gail Simone had wanted to make Batgirl Cassandra Cain literally turn to Christ in a born again experience followed by stories of church attendance and repentance, but the idea was harshly rejected; it would have been a much different direction for the character, who eventually turned to villainy).

(For more on religion in comics: )
Also, I'm sorry if this seems kind of unrealistic maybe, but you never know who's listening or how they'll be affected or how God's Spirit is working in their heart. Maybe this bank robber was already struggling with guilt and believed in God, not knowing how to make things right? Or maybe he never thought about sin or his relationship with God like this before? But I think it works well considering this was supposed to be a 5 page short. I can't fully express every nuance of the human heart in 5 pages - and I prefer not to worry about it, as worry alone trips me up. That's one reason why I hadn't really done any Gospelman comics up until this point: worry that I'd get it wrong. But God answered my prayer when He directed me in the creation of this story.
Sorry for the mouthful in the text on this comic page, by the way. I was going through a time in my Christian walk when I wrote this in which I was very particular to explain the Biblical doctrine of salvation thoroughly. I had honestly been concerned deeply when I discovered things in the Bible that simply aren't taught from the pulpit at any of the churches or Bible colleges that I had attended. Which isn't to say that they didn't believe it, simply however that they at least did not articulate nor explain it. Some people are correct in saying that the Gospel is so simple that a child could do believe and become "born again"/saved; but sometimes I feel that's also an excuse for when some people either don't understand it or don't want, or even can't, explain it. A previous pastor of mine - a godly, Christ-like man that I look up to still to this day - even said from the pulpit that he didn't know how salvation worked in the Old Testament nor did he believe that one even had to repent of sin in order to receive salvation. As a matter of fact, he was so convinced that one didn't have to repent of sin in order to be saved, that he said so from the pulpit more than on one occasion! He stated that we need only to repent of our lack of belief and believe the correct doctrines to receive salvation! I wish I had understood what he had meant, in case we were on the same page but were using the wrong words with each other, because I see Jesus very clearly stating the opposite in Matthew 7!

In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus states, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’

Notice how these religious men actually call Jesus, "Lord." In the Greek, this is Kurios, which was a religious word to the Jews and Gentiles alike. It meant slave master, yes, but it was also used of the Roman Emperor, the Caesars, because there was a religion based around him and he had temples were he could be worshiped; after all, it was taught that he was the son or descendant of a Greco-Roman god (Zeus, I think, but my mythology is rusty). However, when the Jewish people translated the Jewish Scriptures into the common Greek man's tongue, creating the Septuagint, they thought God's name, YHWH, too holy to pronounce nor write, especially since no equivalent existed in the Greek language. So it was decided that His holy name would be represented by "Kurios"! Therefore, the believing Jew refuses to call Caesar, "Kurios"! This is seen in Titus Flavius Josephus (Joseph ben Matityahu)'s historical records in which a rebellion was caused years after Jesus' death and resurrection because the Jewish would not bow down and worship Caesar nor call him Kurios! Joseph writes that they cannot call anyone other than the God of Israel, "Kurios"! Why? Because to the 1st century Jew, this stood for God's name "Yahweh!" Therefore, when the religious people - ministers - in the above Biblical account call Jesus, "Kurios," they identify him as God incarnate and the Messiah! These people had correct doctrinal beliefs over who Jesus was! So, what's the problem? Jesus blatantly tells them: they did not repent of their sins but kept sinning against him through out their lives.

In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus states, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”

These verses are usually used out of context by us Baptist and Protestant Christians, I'm afraid, to show the difference between a believer and an unbeliever - however, that's not what's going on in this picture. Remember, Jesus just got done talking about the "straight and narrow way," a 1st century Rabbinical/Jewish reference to the Mosaic Law/God's Commandments, then proceeded to tell us that we'd know true believers and false believers apart from their actions in life, then stated that those believers without a life characterized by obedience would be cast into the fire, then stated that not everyone who believes that He's God and Messiah will even enter into the Kingdom of Heaven! Jesus means business, folks! Jesus then tells us about these two BELIEVERS: one who builds his life on obedience to God's and Jesus' Words and commands, and one who doesn't.

And in Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus teaches, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’ “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you didn’t take Me in; I was naked and you didn’t clothe Me, sick and in prison and you didn’t take care of Me.’ “Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Notice how the Goats also call Jesus, "Lord," that is, "Kurios"! The Goats are believes in Jesus as God and Messiah! And here we see the opposite from Matthew 7: Jesus is not rejecting these false believers due to what sin they continued in, but what good acts they did NOT continue in! These Goats, I restate, are BELIEVERS! So, what gives, did they not believe hard enough? Patience, we're getting there.

And, in John 8:31, it states, "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples.'"

Did you read that? Believing is just the first step. So... We have to continue in Jesus' teachings to be a disciple of His? That is, acting upon His Word brings salvation instead of simply giving mental assent to its truthfulness? But... Doesn't that equate to Works Salvation, something that is definitely not the Gospel and not biblical? Well, no... Let's look over those famous verses (not all of them, but the most well known).

Everybody knows John 3:16 (I'm using the HCSB): "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."

Believe. That's all I'm seeing. You? Just two verses earlier in chapter 3 Jesus also states that, like the metal serpent on the stick in the Pentateuch/Torah when the Hebrews were bitten by snakes for incurring God's wrath and need only look in faith at the metal snake on the stick that God provided for healing, so to does Jesus say He also must be lifted up, and when He is, all nations (the gentiles) will be drawn to Him (14-15): "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life." So... Doesn't look like anything but faith to me, right? Wait... Then there's John 3:19-21, "This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God." I actually hadn't noticed these verses' relevance to repentance until just now. Yes, it looks like a reference to repentance to me, does it to you? Those who choose to just keep sinning can't come to Jesus because they are spiritually unable to. But, instead of further dissecting and explaining this, let's move on to what I have studied more thoroughly.

Romans 10:8b-13 states, "This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Well... Seems pretty straightforward. Belief in the resurrected Messiah Jesus and admit it, BOOM! You're saved! Call upon the name of the Lord (Yahweh, Kurious, Jesus, etc) - that is, everyone who asks Yahweh/Jesus to save them - will be saved! But didn't we just read earlier passages by Jesus who said that not everyone who believes Jesus is the Kurios (the Lord God, Yahweh) will be saved? And why does Paul say that you're not "saved" at belief, but at "confession"? We'll get back to that.

Ephesians 2:8-9 is also a very famous reference against the doctrine of Works Salvation, "For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast."

This is pretty straightforward and needs no explanation: we can't work our way to God's perfect standard, because no amount of good deeds can change the fact we've broken God's Laws and Commands. The only way He'd ever accept us is by His grace. And this comes through simple faith in Him. This salvation is God's free gift, not a wage to be earned, nor can we ever earn it.

But here's where it gets tricky.

James 2:14-26 states, "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder. Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."

When I was a young Christian, not yet understanding the Scripture, I stayed far away from these verses, as well as the Words of Jesus concerning this matter. Why? Because it sounds like Works Salvation - and no amount of work that you or I will ever do will be able to save us! We're simply not that good enough, and even if we were, Romans 3:23 and 6:23 condemn us as sinners who have earned an eternity in Hell, making all of our good deeds invalid! As Isaiah 64:6 puts it, "All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment..." So, how do we reconcile "faith alone, not by works = salvation" with the above's affirmation that "faith alone without works = an eternity in Hell with the demons who also refuse to repent, despite knowing God exists"? Is it even possible? Yes, yes it is. It took me, I'm not sure, maybe 14 years to figure this out (I know I'm slow, but I've been excited ever since I figured it out! You know, except when Christians in leadership over me disagree, because that's concerning). Here we go:

Matthew 3:5-12 reads, "Then people from Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the vicinity of the Jordan were flocking to [John the Baptist], and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance, but the One who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove His sandals. He Himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing shovel is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn. But the chaff He will burn up with fire that never goes out."

And in Luke 3:7-14, "He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages."

Okay, first, some context: John is a Jewish prophet living in the desert, baptizing people. This baptism is for repentance - which is what he is calling people to do, repent. Why is this scandalous enough to draw the Jewish religious leaders? Because a common belief by some Jewish people then and now is that God will save them from Gehinnom (Hell, which the Jewish people believed in and some still do today, although they view it as more of a temporary purgatory) purely because they are Jews, that is, Abraham's children. However John is saying that even good Jewish people, like himself, need to repent of their sins against God! "What nerve! Doesn't he know that only Gentiles need to repent?" may have been the reaction from some of the religious leaders, which is why he sharply rebuked them. Baptism back then for the Jewish people symbolized repentance, just like Christian baptism also symbolizes repentance from sin (dying to the old life of sin against God, being "raised in newness of life"), as well as being a confession of faith in Christ, however it soon became reserved only for Gentile people. So, John is not calling people to believe, but to repent, although he is also telling them that Jesus is coming. His words sound very much like what Jesus would later teach: in Matthew 7, Jesus teaches that any that don't show good works will be cast into Hell, and later, in Matthew 25, He teaches that He accepts the sheep based upon their good works (don't be confused by wording; I'm not teaching Works Salvation here either). Apparently John taught it first here. But here's what I want you to notice most of all: when John says, in order to avoid God's coming wrath on sinners, to "produce fruit consistent with repentance." That's it! You've got it! You've found it! You've... Need me to explain? Okay, here goes: true repentance from sin - sin means breaking God's Laws and commands, which is us choosing to hate God and be His enemies - RESULTS in good works! In actions and a lifestyle that prove that repentance! That are CONSISTENT with it! No wonder Jesus, in Matthew 7:16a, spoke of knowing how to tell true believers from false believers, saying, "You’ll recognize them by their fruit."

Here it is in a nutshell: Repentance in one's heart - the inward desire to repent of sinful thoughts, words, and actions, and turn instead toward God and obedience to Him - MUST accompany faith or belief! It's not Works Salvation! It's inward repentance! A person who has repentance but no belief, won't be accepted by God, because that person thinks that leading a good, moral life without God can save him. Likewise, a person with faith but no repentance will not be accepted by God, because his sinful lifestyle mocks God, showing that he really hates God and is unable to come to the light. 2 Timothy 2:25b states, "Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth." Repentance, like faith (Luke 17:5), are gifts of God! No one can come to the Light - that is, Jesus Christ - unless God enables that person to and frees them from the bonds and enslavement to their sin and to their spiritual father the devil (John 8:44), making them slaves and children to a new but loving master, God Himself and Jesus Christ.

As Romans 6:15-23 says, "What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from allegiance to righteousness. So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. But now, since you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the end is eternal life! For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I could go on, but I think you'll have even more fun finding more passages within the Scriptures that you may better understand now, if you didn't previously understand the importance of repentance of the heart conjoined with faith in the act of salvation. For example, in 2 Peter 3:9, Peter does NOT say, "come to FAITH," but he does say, "The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to REPENTANCE." (emphasis added)

Is repentance, that is of the heart and not the later consistent fruit, necessary to become born again when you place your faith in Jesus Christ? I think when my old pastor said, "You don't have to repent of your sins to be saved," I'd like to believe that he meant, "You don't have to have works worthy of repentance before you ask God to save you," but I'm not sure sometimes. He had openly struggled in the pulpit over verses like Acts 10:35, "but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him," actually reading it, getting nervous, admitting he's fascinated by the verse but doesn't fully understand it, and then proclaiming that repentance of sin isn't necessary for salvation, which is the complete opposite of what he just read: "but in every nation the person who fears Him [FAITH] and does righteousness [REPENTS] is acceptable to Him." Yes, God saves everyone who calls upon His name, everyone who believes in Him and is sorry for their sins, having godly sorrow that leads to repentance in their hearts.

*EDIT (9/25/16): I would still like to believe that this godly man I once knew simply confuses "repentance" with the "works consistent with repentance." I may never know, but I believe when he uses the word "repentance," he means the actual work instead of a decision of the heart. In which case, I would agree as I do not believe in earning salvation by works, which is not Biblical. However, I define repentance the way Scripture does, as a decision of the heart. The is possibly where we confused each other. So, when he says that one only need repent of unbelief in Jesus and not repent over sin to become born again, hopefully he means that one need literally change one's belief and faith but one doesn't need to change one's entire life, how they live it or act, before coming to Christ. Yes, I believe in coming to God as we are, but with a changed decision to submit to Him instead of rebel. Obviously, we cannot come to Someone nor submit to Someone in Whom we do not believe exists nor have placed our trust or faith in. And I fully agree that we can't actually, truly act upon a decision to repent and change our lives without the empowering of the Holy Spirit, something the Lord gives us when we place our trust and faith in Jesus Christ and make the inward decision in our hearts to repent of the sin in our lives in general. That would be works salvation, earning our way to God, and it would also be impossible. Such a person who won't come to God, not until he's straightened out his own life in order to be worthy to be in God's presence, would never come to God for forgiveness because he would never, ever get everything straightened out without God's empowerment! It simply distresses me over my old pastor's nervousness over this in the pulpit. Why was he nervous? What did he mean? I may never know. But I know what God's Word means and that is what matters.

"For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death." - 2 Cor. 7:10

If you were wondering, I also discovered how salvation worked in the Old Testament through my studies - exactly the way it did in the New Testament. People believed in God and repented of their sins. They looked forward in history to a coming Messiah, a Savior, but we look back to Him in history. Not everyone perfectly understands or has the full revelation, for in Old Testament times God did not yet fully disclose His revelations to mankind, but they believed God concerning what He had shown them, and their faith mixed with godly sorrow leading to repentance (repentance of the heart), produced salvation, and that salvation produced good works, albeit not yet with the help of the Holy Spirit, in that they obeyed God's Laws and Commandments not to earn salvation, but in thankfulness and gratefulness and love to Him because He had saved them.

Until next time! I'll also give a ministry update then! (Too much text today!) Hope you enjoyed!

- Will Boyer


zaptoid 12th Sep 2016, 2:12 PM edit delete reply
Oh, I get it. Gospelman bores the villain into submission.
GospelmanMinistries 12th Sep 2016, 2:18 PM edit delete reply
Haegan2005 12th Sep 2016, 6:18 PM edit delete reply
I don't think god wants slaves. If he did he would have gone about this differently. He wants us to willingly follow him out of love.
GospelmanMinistries 25th Sep 2016, 6:03 PM edit delete reply
That's right, Haegan! God does want us to willingly obey Him out of love! But the authors of and persons in the Bible itself, such as Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul among others, taught that we are the slaves of Satan before coming to Christ and that we, by nature, are forced to obey our master, which is why God enslaves us and puts a New Nature inside of us, one that wants to obey our new Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this New Nature, the very nature of Christ Himself, which causes in us a great love for God and a deep desire to obey Him. Without this New Nature, without the Holy Spirit, then slavery to God feels like a great burden, a great weight, because it is being forced upon us. But if we are born again, our old self having died with Christ and being raised spiritually to newness of life with Him in His resurrection, then we have been changed from the inside out; the old self has passed away, now all things on the inside are new - and they have new desires! With the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the New Nature, obeying God no longer seems like slavery, but instead seems like freedom! There are many Bible verses like this you can read. In the future, I will post narrative notes with Bible references in the comics. The only reason I didn't for this prologue introduction above is because I wanted the comic adventures to feel more fun and that making the reader feel like he had to slow down and look up all of these references would somehow hurt that. However, now I see that I need references and that the reader who wants to read at a faster pace may skip the references, whereas those who want to study the Scriptures I am referring to may go back and look up those passages. I can update the pages later, but for now, here's are some passages to check out:

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

As He was saying these things, many believed in Him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered Him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus responded, “I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My word is not welcome among you. I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father; therefore, you do what you have heard from your father.” “Our father is Abraham!” they replied. “If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! You’re doing what your father does.” “We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me. Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Who among you can convict Me of sin? If I tell the truth, why don’t you believe Me? 47 The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.” - John 8:30-47

"He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves." - Colossians 1:13

"Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

"What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace. What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from allegiance to righteousness. So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. But now, since you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the end is eternal life! For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 6:1-23

Commentary by Will Boyer:
We call Jesus "Lord," but what does that mean? "Lord" is translated from the Greek word "Kurios," which means "slave master," and where there is a slaver master there is a "doulos," a slave or bond-servant. Some English translations are not faithful to translate "doulos" as a bought and purchased slave as American history has made slavery a distasteful concept. However, we must look to and stay true to the original meaning of God's Word within its context in order to properly understand what it means. If you look, you will find many passages about "bond-servants" or "slaves" of God and of Christ. God's Word in various places, like those above, teach that God has purchased us, who were once slaves of Satan, from Satan's household and we now belong to God and Jesus Christ to serve and obey Him in His household instead (Colossians 1:13). So, does this make God or Jesus horrible because the Bible is outspoken in that He is a slave master and we are the slaves? Not at all! In American history, there were many Christians who, hating slavery and the racism that fueled it, bought slaves. Why? To set them free! Christians often bought slaves and raised them as their own children during this time, secretly teaching them to read and write, about God's Word, Jesus Christ, and His love. Just like those Christians, God and Jesus Christ are the Good Slave Masters and we are God's children, Christ's little brothers, for even Christ submitted to God willingly as a slave (Philippians 2:5-8).

A yoke is a harness attached to an ox in order for a farmer, the animal's owner, to force the oxen to plow his fields for him. It can be assumed the Oxen have free will to rebel but can choose to obey the farmer either out of love or out of fear of punishment by the farmer. Jesus is asking us to willingly be enslaved by Him to help Him with the harvest of God's Kingdom, but He assures us that He is a good Slave Master and that, unlike Satan who enslaves this world, the burden He places upon us is easy and light, because He loves us. We are more than slaves to God, for we are His children and He is a good Father.

I think the current problem, brother, is not that you are entirely unfamiliar with these passages that teach that we are enslaved to righteousness, to obedience to God, but that you misunderstand what "slavery to Christ" is because of the negative connotations that the word "slavery" has in our modern world, due to slavery of the African people in America, Britain, and other areas, as well as human-trafficking and such. Those are all examples of wicked slave-masters that do not love nor care for their slaves and whom do not consider nor treat them with love as their own children. Jesus Christ and His Father are the Good Slave Masters because, although we are in their service without pay and belong to them, we are not forced nor unloved. Because of His indwelling Spirit that has changed our very nature from the inside out, we serve willingly in love as a response to the love He first showed us. Although many have allowed their love for their Savior to grow cold, and thus obedience to God starts to feel forced and dreadful, we can renew our love for God and have right fellowship with Him again (1 John 1), making serving Him a joy and pleasure again once more. God loves us and we are more than mere servants or slaves - we are His family and He loves us as our Father.

- Will Boyer, Gospelman Ministries