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Jude 1 by Robert Dean
Series:Jude (2012)
Duration:55 mins 33 secs

Bond Slave of Jesus Christ
Jude 1, 2
Jude Lesson #03
January 17, 2021
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.

We have looked at Jude’s description of himself as a bondservant (DOULOS) of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. Slavery in all times in history has often had negative aspects to it, but there were other aspects of slavery which were brought out by this metaphor and the primary aspect has to do with authority, with submission to the authority of the one who is the master, the one who is in charge. In this case the one who is the master is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The doctrine of being a slave of Jesus Christ

  1. Jude identifies himself as a servant of Jesus Christ even though he is the half-brother of the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. In doing so he demonstrates his humility and correct orientation to authority by pointing out that his authority really comes from Jesus Christ, which is why he calls himself a slave of Jesus Christ.
  2. Like other writers in the New Testament he identifies himself as a slave of Jesus Christ and this has a couple of different aspects to it. It was not just sort of stock phrase that was used because that what was expected, it had a certain emphasis. The Greek word DOULOS emphasizes that one person is completely under control of someone else. It is sometimes translated as being a subject of someone, a servant of someone, but only in the sense that they are completely under that other person’s authority or control. This is the idea when it is used in relationship to God: that we as a servant of God are completely under the authority of God. This is how it is used in the Old Testament.
    For example, Exodus 14:31; Deuteronomy 34:5 where Moses is described as being the servant of the Lord. The Hebrew word has a wide range of meaning. It can mean worker, someone who is a servant, and also the idea of being a slave, whereas the Greek word has more to do with being a slave and being completely under the authority of someone else. The emphasis in the word is on voluntary servitude, placing ourselves voluntarily under the authority of God; and that only comes as we grow as believers. Initially we are just thankful that we are saved but as we begin to grow as believers we begin to realize that the real issue here is whether we are going to obey God or whether we are going to do things our own way.
  3. In the Old Testament slavery was not a permanent status unless an individual volunteered to do so. It was a voluntary status that at the end of seven years or when the sabbatical year came all the slaves were freed. However, if a person for whatever reason (usually economic) did not think they could really handle the responsibilities of being then they could voluntarily enter into a permanent state of slavery. This would be indicated by piercing their ear with an awl. That would indicate that person was in voluntarily servitude, and this is explained in Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:17. The emphasis is on the authority position, the authority of Christ and our willing submission to Him.
    This is how this word is used, especially in relation to the apostles. In Romans 1:1 Paul calls himself a slave of Jesus Christ. In 2 Peter 1:1 Peter calls himself a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. In James 1:1 James calls himself a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. Being a slave of Jesus means total loyalty to Jesus. It emphasizes the idea of focus, submission to His authority, loyalty to Him, and serving Him however He calls us to serve Him. This is the idea Paul uses in Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” In other words, “Am I trying to please men or am I trying to please God?” So it has to do with complete loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ, not out to gain human favor or human recognition.  

A slave was the lowest level of society. The term DOULOS was the most servile term available in Greek for the idea of being a slave or servant. Another word used was DIAKONOS from which we get our English word “deacon” and in contrast to DIAKONOS, the slave was completely subordinate, had no rights, no position whatsoever. A DIAKONOS was someone who was serving others, so it was a little further up the social scale. Being a slave of Christ was a common designation for the disciples and the more committed believers in the first century. Cf. Acts 4:29; 1 Corinthians 7:23, “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.”

This is typical of the Apostle Paul because he will contrast this with the fact that as believers we are to be slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is seen in one of the most significant passages that we have related to this whole topic: Romans 6, which lays the foundation for the believer’s spiritual life addressing the question of how a justified person is supposed to live. In Romans 6:7 Paul says, “for he who has died is freed from sin.” It is a perfect tense verb there, indicating completed action. It was completed at the instant of salvation. The power of the sin nature was broken so that now we are freed from sin. It doesn’t mean we don’t sin but that is because we now make a choice to put ourselves under the authority of that slave master, the sin nature.

Romans 6:8–10, “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” So that “the life that He lives, He lives to God.” That is the focus now. We are shifting to that role of service to God that comes as a result of death to sin.

Then Paul makes the comparison in Romans 6:11, “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Having understood all of the facts in the previous ten verses we are now to come to a conclusion. This is a command that it is to be the dominant characteristic of our thinking. We are to reckon ourselves dead to sin. That means there is a separation. This isn’t legalism. (Legalism is the idea that if I do things, or don’t do things. If I am obedient or disobedient to certain mandates or prohibitions then that is what gains blessing and favor with God.

Then Paul says in Romans 6:12, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts.” Again, this is a command not to continue to sin. We do sin but the standard is, don’t continue to sin, don’t let sin reign, don’t let sin be the dominant authority in your life. Notice how the idea of authority has been brought in.

Romans 6:13, “and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin {as} instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members {as} instruments of righteousness to God.”

Then the explanation, Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Who is the authority in your life? Is it the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word or is it the sin nature? All of that is just the introduction to his use of the term “slavery.”

Now he develops this in Romans 6:15, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” In other words, is grace an excuse to sin? Some people use it that way, but that is because they are spiritual babies. Spiritual babies always use their freedom as a way to justify doing whatever they want to do, because the basic orientation of the sin nature is self-absorption, doing what I want to do and not what anyone else wants me to do.

He expands this in Romans 6:16, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone {as} slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” This is the key verse.

When we obey our sin nature, we are saying to the sin nature, you are the boss, I am going to submit to your authority. When we are obedient to the Lord and applying Scripture, we are saying to the Lord, You are the boss, I am submitting to Your authority. The issue is our volition. Whenever we are walking according to the sin nature we are voluntarily putting ourselves in a position as a slave to the sin nature.

When we say to the sin nature, I am obeying you, the end result of that is death—not eternal death, but carnal or temporal death in the sense that our life is useless, worthless and non-productive in terms of anything for God, anything of eternal value, and it will lead to self-induced misery and self-destruction if we continue down the path of disobedience to God and obeying the sin nature.

The other option is obedience which leads to righteousness. This isn’t justification righteousness because that is the righteousness of Christ which is imputed to us. But if we are walking in obedience to the Scripture, walking by the Holy Spirit, then what is produced in us is an experiential righteousness.

This is the whole idea of sanctification, the idea of growing and being more useable by God in serving God in terms of our spiritual life and growth. That is the idea of being experientially sanctified or experientially set apart to the service of God.

So we are either going to make a choice to be a slave to the sin nature, which is going to lead to divine discipline, carnal death and may lead to the sin unto death, or we are going to choose to obey the Scripture, obey Christ, which will lead to the development of experiential righteousness and blessing in our life.

Romans 6:17–18, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,—the gospel—and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” At salvation we are set free from the power, the authority, the mastery of sin. So we only have two options: slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness.

Speaking in terms of an analogy, Romans 6:19, “I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh—sin nature.—For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in {further} lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.” So how are we experientially sanctified?

First of all, if we have been out of fellowship, we need to confess our sins to return to fellowship, and then walk by the Spirit which here is expressed as presenting our members, our bodies, our life, as a slave of righteousness for experiential sanctification.

Then in Romans 6:20 Paul goes on to explain that we were slaves of sin we were free in regard to righteousness. There was no righteousness; all was unrighteousness. Same thing that Isaiah says in Isaiah 64:6, “… And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment …”

Romans 6:21, “Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is—carnal—death.” He is not talking about eternal death, he is talking to believers and whether or not they are going to present their lives to Christ in obedience or disobedience leading to carnal death, temporal death in the sense of no spiritual vitality, no enduring fruit, nothing that has eternal value.

Romans 6:22, “But now having been freed from sin—positionally at salvation—and enslaved to God,—positionally at salvation—you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” This everlasting life here is not talking about eternal life in the sense of never-ending that we receive at salvation but it is the result of experiential sanctification. It is more the fullness of life, the full experience of our eternal life. This is the result of phase two experiential growth.   

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is a phase two verse. This is sin in the life of the believer who gives himself as a slave to sin. The wages of sin is death—not eternal condemnation in the Lake of Fire, but carnal death in this life and the consequences of that. The eternal life here is not eternal life in the sense of not going to the Lake of Fire, it is the full experience of that abundant life which Christ gave us.

This exposition of slavery that Paul gives in Romans 6 is a background for understanding all the passages in the New Testament that relate to being a slave of Jesus Christ. It is positional sanctification but also, because of our position as being a slave of Christ, we are to experientially become slaves of Christ.

This is what Jude is emphasizing. He is a bond servant, a slave of Christ. He has recognized that Christ is his authority and because that he is growing to spiritual maturity, and when he writes he has the authority of Christ behind him because he is a slave of Christ.

Then as we have seen before he identifies himself as the brother of James. This can only be the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jude uses this to identify himself with his more famous brother who became the foremost leader in the Jerusalem church.

Jude 1:1b, “To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ.” ~NASB “To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” ~NKJV. The NASB translation reflects the wording that is found in the Critical Text and some of the older manuscripts.

There is a textual problem here relating to “beloved” in the NASB which is translated “sanctified” in the NKJV. A strong case could be made for either one, both of which are true and both of which are stated many times, so it doesn’t affect any major doctrine.

The preference as the superior reading is “sanctified” and the most likely. It is a perfect passive participle in both cases, and so this emphasizes completed action, something that was accomplished at the instant of salvation with results that go on without end. It is the word hagiazo, which means to make holy, to sanctify.

The basic idea of the word is to be set apart to the service of a god or a deity. It is based on the Hebrew word indicating something set apart to God, but non-personal things can be set apart to God—bowls or furniture, the temple itself.

There are three stages of sanctification. We refer to the first one as positional sanctification, i.e., to be freed from the penalty of sin. It happens in an instant of time when a person trusts in Jesus Christ as Savior. They receive the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and are declared justified.

Phase two is what we have been talking about in terms of being a slave of Christ. It is referred to as progressive or experiential sanctification. It is the experience of our growth where as we walk by means of the Spirit in fellowship and in obedience to the Word of God the Holy Spirit produces spiritual growth and spiritual fruit in our life and we grow toward spiritual maturity. It is primarily the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to work in us spiritual growth and spiritual advance.

Then ultimate or final sanctification takes place when we are absent from the body, face to face with the Lord. No longer do we have a sin nature, we are freed from the sin nature, and we are glorified.