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'Saved' or 'Chosen'

During the days of the Roman Empire, servitude and slavery was common. About as common as employees are today.

There were several ways to become a slave then, and while none of these were voluntary, they were all well known and accepted as a part of life.

One way to become a slave was to be conquered in battle. If you were defeated in battle, which could only happen if you surrendered because all combat was "to the death", then your life was forfeit and in the hands of the victors. Both defeated soldiers who surrendered and were accepted as prisoners, as well as the women and children of the losing side could become 'property' of the victors and were considered 'spoils of war'. Unless they were slaughtered. Some, became prisoners so that they could be used as gladiators and die in that fashion.

Many a victorious soldier brought back a wife and/or male servant he had "chosen" or "saved" to serve him for life. This was considered a reward for bravery on the battlefield.

Another way to become enslaved was to get so far into debt, that you would (in today's terms) declare bankruptcy. Back then, you would be imprisoned for your inability to pay your debts. You were stuck in jail until someone wanted to "buy you out" by paying off your debts and you became their servant.

Again, many a person was "chosen" or "saved" to be a servant in this manner.

In each case above, it was understood that you deserved death, or life in prison, and that you had been chosen to be spared or saved from that destiny. In return for and acknowledgement of your "savior's grace and mercy" you served them until you died, they died or released you, or, if you did not serve them faithfully, they could execute you or return you to prison. You had no right to appeal their decision, as they were the final authority on your life. If however, they released you, you were now "free" and lived and were treated as if you had never been enslaved or rescued or "chosen".

In other words, you accepted their authority over you by becoming their slave, or they could order your death. Yet another way to summarize it: They were your Savior/Master and you were their Slave/Servant. You lost your rights when you "should have died but for their intervention". There was no option to live for yourself once you had been "saved" from your fate.

It is in this cultural setting that the Gospels and Epistles are written. It is in such a setting that Paul and other's wrote of "Our Lord and Savior" Jesus.

In today's church, with such focus on "salvation" we forget about "enslavement". We understand that we were "chosen", and forget that it was not for our qualities, but because of our desperate situation.

While it is accurate to say that "I am saved", it is much more accurate to say, "I was chosen to serve".

Our Salvation from Hell is not the primary issue for this article's focus. Our quality of service and the depth of our loyalty to Our Lord is the issue. How we do what Our Boss wants us to do, and how little we do what we want to do is the issue.

If we are not able to say, with all our heart, "Thy will, not mine be done", then one can question whether we are servants that please our Master or not.

If you do not like the slave/Master analogy, think employee and boss. What quality employee ignores the boss's directives and instead does what the employee wants to do? Only those about to be let go! When you serve your boss, you take their priorities and desires into account, or they don't stay your boss.

Yet another way to put it, using modern terminology, is to talk about "rescued" dogs or cats. Yes, those animals that are "rescued" from bad situations and put up for adoption. You can say that you "chose" that pet, and "save" it from where it was. Our dog at home is such a dog, and she is perfect for us. We can tell by her attitude, that she is grateful she was chosen to be saved. She has no arrogance about being better than other dogs, she just wants to play with them all the time.

C. S. Lewis put it this way, "There are 2 kinds of people in this world: those that say to God: "Thy will be done" and those to whom God says, "fine, have it your way."

So do not get self-righteous about being saved, and foolishly forget that you were saved from circumstances you deserved. That's really pretty silly. Do not forget to be grateful to your Savior, and to accept Him as Master. Get to work doing what He recruited you to do, so that one day, you too can hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord."

The benefits and pay are out of this world, and the long-term health benefits are matched by the best retirement plan in the universe!