“We Are Unworthy Slaves”

Text: Luke 17:7-10

Most of the denominational world is under the heavy influence of Calvinism (unconditional election, irresistible grace, etc.). So they object to our teaching that obedience is necessary. They argue that we believe we can “earn” our salvation. But this is not the case. The passage under consideration in our lesson is important for us to remember on this point.

Nature of Slavery

  • Different than what we think of in this country’s history – slaves thought of as being subhuman; kidnapped from home and forced to work
  • In those days, many chose to sell themselves into slavery to pay off a debt – this is the way in which we are enslaved to Christ
  • We are in debt because of sin (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4) – we’ve been redeemed by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19) and are now slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18)

Our Job is to Work

  • Being a slave necessarily involves obedience to one’s master (Romans 6:16)
  • We work, not until we say we’re done, but until our master says we’re done (Luke 17:7-8) – as slaves of Christ, He expects us to faithfully serve Him until death (Hebrews 4:9-11; Revelation 14:13)
  • What is necessary for our service (Luke 17:8)? … preparation (1 Peter 1:13); proper clothing (Galatians 3:27; Colossians 3:9-10); serve according to the master’s will (Colossians 3:17)

Fulfilling Our Obligation

  • The slave does not receive thanks from an earthly master – he has not earned anything; he has simply carried out the master’s commands
  • Do not think your service earns you anything – salvation is a “free gift“; what we deserve is death (Romans 6:23)
  • But we must be doing what we ought to do – obedience is expected of God’s people (Hebrews 5:9)
  • Obedient to what extent? … “do all the things which are commanded” (Matthew 28:20)
  • This does not contradict the fact that we’re saved by grace – we must also do God’s will (Ephesians 2:8-10)

We Have a Better Master

  • Earthly masters give us no thanks – even good/fair masters treat slaves as slaves (obedience expected; not worthy of praise)
  • The Lord, as our master, treats and rewards us differently – we are brethren (Hebrews 2:11); we are the children of God (1 John 3:1; Galatians 4:7); we share in the inheritance (Colossians 1:12)


  • The Lord has a reward in heaven prepared for us – nothing that we have earned (we are saved by grace)
  • Yet we are still His slaves – we must obey Him in all things

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