Tag Archive: Western Tradition



“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” -Romans 6:18

image

Who or what is your master? Like it or not, we all chase after or focus on something, and it is this same something which dictates or determines our actions, thoughts, goals or desires. Man tends to think he is the master over his own life, but this isn’t the case. Man can choose what has dominion over him, this much is true, but once it is decided, it is sealed, and that individual becomes a slave to that very thing.

Relative recent history gives the term, “slave,” a certain infamy and therefore power, in a very negative sense. Does Paul mean “slave” with the same sort of negative connotation that it has today? I argue not, but let us first understand that slavery in the Scripture, is very different from those, “recent,” examples that blot our history, particularly that of the western tradition. Indeed, much slavery included in the Bible concerns the repayment of debts. Yet, now, Christ has paid our debt in full, that by our faith in Him, it may be credited to us as righteousness. Furthermore, Christ doesn’t refer to us as slaves, but rather, sons, daughters, and even, friends.

Paul indicates repeatedly in his letters, that we are either slaves to sin, or slaves to righteousness. Yet, if we are slaves to righteousness, aren’t we then slaves to God? Furthermore, if this is the case, then can’t it be said that God has no more morality than any of those southern plantation owners, who “employed,” slaves in early American history?

In actuality, the answer is a resounding no! For although Paul uses the word, he does so to put it in, “human terms.” When we examine the slavery mentioned by Paul and juxtapose it with the slavery of history, we find a key difference, and, in fact, it is Christ Himself who is the key that unlocks the shackles that bind our hands and feet, setting us free!

When we look at the contemporary conception of the institution of slavery, we find it not only terrible, but completely self-serving. Though slavery is for the benefit of one, the land owner, Christ came for the benefit of many. In Christ we do serve God, but we too are rewarded in and by our efforts, We find that we benefit in being slaves to righteousness, which negates slavery altogether. In addition, we find others benefit in our being “slaves” to this righteousness, and we are given eternal life and glorify God with our very lives.

Sin is the true slavery, and more in tune with the current view of slavery then the antithesis. For though man’s carnal desires may be satisfied in short term, there is no true benefit, only pacification. What is true is what is eternal. Live for righteousness that you may be a slave no longer, live for Christ. Through sin came pain, death, and misery, but through Christ, we gain contentment, life, and joy. Glory be to God who through His Son broke us out of the bonds and freed us from sin and the wage that comes from it, death.

Advertisements

“I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.” -Romans 1:4

1 Corinthians 1:22 – “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom.”

Much of philosophy, the liberal arts, and indeed the western tradition can be credited to the Greeks. Great philosophers like Aristotle and Plato offered up theories about the cosmos, thought and metaphysics that are still with us today. In fact, Greek philosophers were the first to suggest a theory of evolution, though it wouldn’t become known as “evolution,” until Darwin. A couple philosophers known for writing theories similar to Darwin’s are, Thales and Lucretius, some 2,300 years prior.

Now it is true that Greeks, especially the Athenians, were considered very intelligent, though their philosophical writing as a whole is made up of treatises both for and against the existence of God. Yet, their own personal belief structure was wildly polytheistic, as were the Romans.

Paul’s meaning in verse 14 is two fold, at least. First and foremost, the message is that Paul’s mission is to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. The second is, because he mentioned the Greeks specifically, that he is to preach the gospel to not only the wise, but the foolish as well. Though, it should be mentioned what’s wise and what’s foolish differ much in the eyes of the Lord than before the eyes of the world.

I myself am a student of philosophy, but I read and present it through a Christian perspective. I agree this probably isn’t for everyone, if not for any more reason than the angry writings you have to read blatantly attacking God and those who follow Him. However, I am analytical by nature and delve deeply into topics, sometimes, honestly, too much. Yet, though it has fault, I believe it is also good in some ways, and again, I utmost try and use my analytical thought to glorify God.


That being said this verse strikes me in another way. Paul and the Romans to whom he was writing would have been more than aware of the significance of this, and not of just the importance of preaching to Gentiles, which was made already apparent by Paul writing them in the first place, but that he was obligated to preach to the most brilliant minds of the time.

Now, I have heard much concerning the debate of how much the mind has a part to play in our relationship with God. Let me just say, so nobody gets the wrong impression, I consider the fact I have all these questions, and that I always have had to seek an answer, to be a lower spiritual condition, if you will, than pure faith. Indeed, it’s been something I have been accused of lacking, simply because I ask questions. Much to their credit, those who have told me this, their motives are pure and feel that it can be a stumbling block, so I don’t regard such criticisms to rude in anyway, though I do disagree that its an absolute stumbling block.

It comes down to a kind of dualism. The freedom our Lord gave us was opportunity for man to either use things the right way, or the wrong way. The scriptures aren’t opposed to the mind. I feel Paul was an amazing example of this, for when one reads his epistles, and one even has a little philosophical background, it’s apparent that Paul was exercising his spirit and his mind. The scriptures give examples of how he “reasoned,” with Gentiles concerning the Lord’s existence and the Gospel. God does not do anything arbitrarily. He gave us a mind for a reason and though I hold those who have a faith beyond questions to a higher esteem than myself, I feel there is a right way to exercise the mind pursuing God that is not only beneficial for my relationship with the Lord, but to those the Lord may place in my path. May He be Praised.

%d bloggers like this: