Thursday, December 30, 2010

Slave by John MacArthur

When you want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, who can you turn to? John MacArthur, and his newest book Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ is no exception. MacArthur has spent his career clarifying and proclaiming the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of a world that has been seduced by false and watered-down imitations. Now he is exposing these differences through a single word that has been missing from most of our English Bible translations.


He begins by examining slavery as it existed in first century Rome and in ancient Israel, noting the distinctions between then and our current western understanding of the issue. How the roles of slave and master closely portray the relationship between Christian and God is carefully laid out.

Throughout scripture the Apostles and most notably, Jesus himself, used this language in communicating and teaching, especially in the parables. Their audiences would have had no difficulty understanding their meaning for these were things that were woven into their very lives.

MacArthur explains:
Jesus also used slave language to define the reality of what it means to follow him. Discipleship, like slavery, entails a life of total self-denial, a humble disposition towards others, a wholehearted devotion to the Master alone, a willingness to obey his commands in everything, an eagerness to serve him even in his absence, and a motivation that comes from knowing he is well pleased. p. 43
MacArthur expounds on five parallels that he draws between the Christian and slave.

  • Exclusive Ownership
  • Complete Submission
  • Singular Devotion
  • Total Dependance
  • Personal Accountability


Once the role of slave is sufficiently explained, MacArthur turns his attention to the master. He dedicates the next three chapters to proclaiming and defending the Lordship of Jesus Christ and his position as the true head of the church. Jesus is shown to be the glorious Savior and rightful master that scripture bears him to be.


Continuing the slavery theme, MacArthur goes onto explain the Doctrines of Grace as they are revealed through this illustration. This turns out to be a surprisingly refreshing and convincing explanation of these precious truths. He devotes a chapter to each one of the five. Very well done!


He uses the twelfth chapter to awaken us to the reality of the coming judgment at Christ's return, and the account we will all give to either our faithfulness or disobedience. A very sober warning, yet full of encouragement and peace for those who are following the Master's will.


The final chapter highlights the paradox of the blessedness of being a slave – of Christ. He beautifully expounds on these four:
  • Slavery Brings Freedom
  • Slavery Ends Prejudice
  • Slavery Magnifies Grace
  • Slavery Pictures Salvation


I can definitely recommend Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ to all who desire to the know the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the blessed requirement of being his slave. This is one to give to those who struggle with understanding or accepting Christ's Lordship. It will serve as a wake up to casual, name only “believers.”

I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me this free copy for review.
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