Friday, 11 November 2016
…knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Ephesians 6:8
Paul now moves from the admonitions of verses 5 through 7 into the thought of an expected reward for meeting those same admonitions. In these verses, he is specifically addressing slaves, or “bondservants.” He is showing now that regardless of worldly station, there will be no such distinction when standing before the Lord for judgment. This is reflected quite a few times in his letters, but the most notable is probably Galatians 3:28 –
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Though these differences exist in the world, the distinctions do not exist for judgment for those who are in Christ. We are all on the same spiritual plane, and we will all be judged by the same perfect standard. Understanding this, Paul says, “…knowing that whatever good anyone does.” This is a general statement, but it is given to bolster the many seemingly difficult admonitions for the slave of the previous verses. Put yourself in the place of a slave with a really crummy master, and read these words again –
“Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men…”
As you can see, it would be a tough thing to live out these words if your master (or your boss of today) was a tyrant. But the Lord is watching and He will reward even the slave who is faithful in adhering to His word. This is confirmed with the next words which say, “…he will receive the same from the Lord.”
The Greek is emphatic; it will happen. The wording does not say that he will receive the reward for what he does, but rather it says that he will receive the deed itself. In other words, there will be a like-kind reward. Paul uses a metonymy – a like-kind of payment – to express the completely fair reward for faithful adherence to the admonitions. And this can be expected “whether he is a slave or free.” At the judgment seat of Christ, all will be openly rewarded for their deeds. Their status now has no bearing on what will be. It is a great comfort to know this because in this earthly system, some have easy lives and they seem to get all the good benefits of it. Some have difficult lives, and they seem to only get more trouble. But the faithful soul shall receive his reward.
Life application: We are given a sure promise in this verse. It is from the word of God which is faithful and true. Don’t look at the temporary, but look to the eternal. Fix your eyes on Jesus and your heart on being obedient to His word.
Lord God, Your word says that when we come before You for judgment, we will be rewarded based on faithful adherence to Your word. The positions of this world will not matter. Those who are slaves or those who are masters will be on the same level. Those who are rich and those who are poor will both face the same peering eyes, looking at the intent of the heart, not the size of the wallet. The earthly distinctions will be set aside, and the life lived in accord with Your word will be brought forward. Thank You that all have this marvelous opportunity of pleasing You equally. Thank You for Your promise of just rewards! Amen.