Vs. 5 “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ. Vs.6 “not with eye service, as menpleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; Vs. 7 “with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Vs. 8 “knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.”
Vs. 5 “servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh…” Slavery was common in the days of Paul, so much so, that one writer states, “slaves outnumbered freemen” (Vincent). Slavery was part of the ancient culture, which prevailed in the days of Christ and Paul, and The New Testament neither formally condemned it nor approved it. Paul sent Onesimus, a run away slave, who was saved and converted to Christianity back to his master, Philemon.
With the coming of Christianity, and its great
principles many question would arise about the institution of slavery.
Therefore much space is given in the New Testament to the subject, but
It was left to the progress of Christianity for abolishment.
They were to serve with “singleness of heart”, not feigning obedience, but faithfully performing the pleasure of him whose servant he was in the flesh. “As unto Christ,” the Christian slave was to discharge his duty as a service performed unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Such dedication to duty would be beyond reproach. “As unto Christ,” This approach is the best for it creates a pure and powerful motive, the incentive of which increases with the passing of time.
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers.” The servant
must be honest, performing his duty at all times, and not only when his
master is observing. Otherwise his service would be strictly unto men,
and for the eyes of men. We need to remember that our Heavenly Master is
on the scenes at all times. It is regretful that many professing
Christians are dishonest with their employers in this respect. A
shirking of duty is an evil of great magnitude, it involves lying and
stealing, but worse yet, it sets a bad example, and gives the ungodly an
occasion to blaspheme the God of heaven. It is truly sad, when the
worldling can truthfully say of the professing saint, “he Is the best
worker on the job, when the boss is present.”
“Doing the will of God from the heart,” Mere
outward service may be sufficient to deceive and thereby satisfy the
earthly master, but the saint needs to remember that his Eternal Master,
“...seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
Self advertisement (eyeservice) and display is
strongly condemned by the word of God. Self effacement and self denial
is highly commended by the word of God. A good deed ceases to be a good
deed when it is done to draw attention to self, or any person other than
A good will or proper attitude toward their
masters was necessary to consistent obedience. Unrighteous masters will
be judged by God, yet the slave was to render lawful obedience to his
master regardless of his master’s standing before God. All of his
service was to be performed with regard for Christ, and when his motive
in services was to glorify his Heavenly Master, it was accepted by
Christ as service unto himself. Remembering we are first the servants of
Christ and can only serve man honestly when our aim is to glorify God.
To deceive the employer, causing him to believe
you are measuring to the agreement is to be a hypocrite. A hypocrite is
a person who assumes a character that he or she does not possess. Christ
reserved His most scathing rebukes for hypocrites. And he says to the
Believer, “...thou shalt be as the hypocrites are...” (Mt. 6:5).
The best wages received at the hands of men are not worthy of comparison to those things which God hath in store for them who love, and faithfully serve Him. Our earthly masters may cheat us, neglect us, yea may even abuse our bodies with undue punishment, and all this when they should be rewarding us for obedient service. While we may have to forego due recompense of reward at the hands of unjust stewards on earth, we shall receive that wage due us in heaven, plus interest.
The participle, “knowing” in verse eight causes us to realize that no earthly master can deprive us of an honest wage, though he holds it from us. Our Lord is the infallible and eternal paymaster and He many times over makes up the difference whereof we were short changed by the stewards of our bodies. “Whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” That is guaranteed income.
Whatsoever work is done with an aim to glorify
God, though it sub-serves men is taken note of by our Heavenly Master,
and is certain to be rewarded. While on the other hand, we may give
ourselves to the meanest drudgery, and pretend to do it unto the Lord,
yet be in fact done to draw attention to one’s self, thereby
“Knowing” that the servant shall be rewarded for
faithfulness, should encourage the believer, and cause him to seize
every opportunity to serve, whether he “be bond or free.” The
bondservant should have his master‘s interest at heart, and should serve
so as to promote that interest. The supreme Interest being that of God’s
glory, and when the saint “bond Or free” strives to promote God’s glory
in the world, he will receive a wage whether anybody in all the world
ever takes note of it.
We do not mean to imply that God’s essential glory can be either Promoted or demoted, it is absolute, and is not dependent on anything outside of God Himself for its eternal effulgence. However, God in His infinite counsel has determined that all of creation would be used in radiating His glory, and this is what we mean, when we say, “glory to God.”
II Cor. 4:15 “for all things are
for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the
thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”