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Slaves 奴隷

Are you a slave? あなたは奴隷ですか?
Who or what are you a slave to? あなたは誰に、また何に対して奴隷ですか。
Your work? Your family? Your parents? Your lust? Your anger? Your money? Your routine? Your pride? God?
What sort of answers would you expect from the person in the street or from your friends who don’t know Jesus? あなたはイエスを知らない通りすがりの人や友人からどんな答えを期待しますか。

I suspect many would say that they are not a slave at all. Some might feel they are slaves to the things above but I suspect that many also would say that they are free. 私は、多くの人が自分たちが奴隷ではないと言うと思います。先ほど挙げた事柄の奴隷であると感じている人もいるかもしれませんが、多くの人が自由の身であると言うと思います。
People are slaves to whatever has mastered them. 2 Peter 2:19

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a student:
“I don’t like religion because you have to serve and obey blindly.”
“It’s more than that. I consider myself a slave to God.”
“Why would you want that?”
“Because everyone is a slave to someone or something and I can’t think of anything better than being a slave to the love and righteousness of God.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. Romans 6:22

Paul has some interesting things to say about slavery – in the spiritual sense – in his letter to the Galatians which we have been working through this year and are now up to chapter 4.

So far in our study on Galatians we have looked at: これまでのところ私たちはガラテヤ人への手紙でこれらを見てきました:
* The essence of true Christian faith is belief – belief in God and belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died an atoning death and resurrected from death to new life.
* The importance of staying true to the true gospel. ここでパウロは本当の福音に忠実であり続けることの大切さを語っています。
* “But God” is the essence of living out the Christian life.“しかし神が”というのがクリスチャン生活を生きる上での欠かせないことです。

Today we start by looking at slavery. 今日は奴隷制を見ていくところから始めます。
4 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is under age, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were under age, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

The slavery here that Paul is talking about is slavery to “the elemental spiritual forces of the world”. That is, the basic forms (or regulations) of religion – whether they be of either the Jewish law (the old testament law) or the Gentiles’ spiritual laws. Both were a form of religious bondage. They were a form of slavery. Neither of them were/are a part of the new creation that comes from rebirth through the Holy Spirit into Christ.
Paul explains here that as believers in Christ, as recipients of His Holy Spirit, the whole spiritual dynamic has changed. The relations between ourselves and God are fundamentally and wholly different. We who are in Christ, are no longer slaves to a religious system or obsolete spiritual laws, but rather are now family – sons and daughters who are now heirs of the promises of God and heirs of the freedom that comes from being in Christ. We have “full rights as sons (and daughters)”.

Sounds good. But what does it mean? 聞こえはいいですね。けれどどういう意味でしょうか。

i. It means we approach God as family members. 家族の一員として神に近づくということ

Paul explains that as adopted sons, God has sent His Holy Spirit into our hearts to cry out and testify that God is our Father. This is one of the privileges of rebirth in Christ. When we pray, we don’t pray to an unknown God, we don’t pray hoping that God might somehow, someday hear us. We pray from a position of intimacy knowing that God is our Father and we are His children. We have special and direct access to His throne when we pray. Remember this each time you pray. The Holy Spirit within us identifies us as children of God and works in our hearts to call out to God as our Father ‘Abba’.

ii. It means that we are no longer tied to or bound by the old law.
The law was good. It gave instruction and introduced God’s holiness to a sinful world. But it was at the same time a form of spiritual slavery which became obselete when Jesus had finished His work on the cross. その律法は良いものでした。罪にまみれたこの世界に教えを与え、神の清らかさを届けました。しかし、イエスがこの世での仕事を終え十字架に架けられたときに廃れたものとなった霊的な奴隷制と同じようなものだったのです。
So now, here’s a question that we Christians now have to deal with: if we’re no longer bound by old testament law, do we still have to obey it? None of it? Some of it? Or all of it? Do laws like the ten commandments still apply or not?
The simple answer is that Jesus is the fulfilment of the Old Testament law so by following Jesus and living as His disciples, we fulfil OT law.
Here’s a good, simple rule of thumb: If an OT law is repeated in the NT, obey it, if not, don’t worry too much about it.

iii. It means that we are children of promise 私たちは約束の子どもであるということ
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
24 These things are being taken figuratively: the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: this is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. …
28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.

So what exactly does this mean (that we are children of promise)?

It relates to both our origin and our destiny. これは私たちの起源と宿命の両方に関係があります。
Origin: It means first and foremost that we are the result of what God promised long ago to Abraham. It means that we have been chosen from the beginning to belong to Christ. This is rather extraordinary. It means that before the world began, God already knew us. He had already chosen our existence, decided our names, and elected us to be formed in this life into the likeness of Christ. We are the result of God’s promise to Abraham which was fulfilled in Christ. This should lead us to real humility (not pride!).

Destiny: Being children of promise doesn’t only refer to our origins but also to our destiny. Our destiny, our goal, our chief purpose, is to receive every spiritual blessing of heaven – holiness, righteousness, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, understanding. These are the fruits of sonship in God, they are not the fruits of slavery to religious ways or old spiritual laws. Look how Paul explained this to the Ephesians:

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ… In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ. Eph 1:3-9

This is all rich and meaty teaching – teaching that we would all do well to go home and read again slowly and prayerfully and meditate over. In very simple terms, we have been saved by Jesus to become like Jesus – and that affects every part of our lives. Our character, our personality, our decision making, our relationships, our peace, our joy. It also means…

iv. It means that we are free. 私たちは自由であるということ

“It is for freedom that Christ has set up free.” Galatians 5:1

And what is freedom? That is part of the answer regarding taking spiritual truths and making them practical realities. And that is what we will look at next week…