When the New Testament writers describe salvation under the figure of being “redeemed,” they are borrowing a metaphor from the first-century practice of slavery. Christ purchased believers so that they can no longer claim to be their own (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; Revelation 5:9.). As slaves of Christ, we identify Jesus as our Lord and Master (Romans 6:22; 10:9; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Peter 3:15).
A first-century slave belonged to his owner, lived as part of his master’s household, was equipped and trained to be used for the master’s purposes, and carried out the will of his lord alone. This is the way the New Testament exhorts believers to live and to think about themselves in the spiritual realm. In Romans 8:16, Paul teaches that everyone is a slave of the one whom we obey–either of God or of sin. This means that if we are not obeying God as His slaves, whatever we are doing, no matter how “good” that might be, it is sin, rebellion, and a misuse of the gift of righteousness and life and He has given us. Jesus taught that we can only serve one master, either money or God (Matthew 6:24; Luke16:13.). Peter tells us that since we were bought with such a costly price, we ought to live in obedience and fear the God who purchased us–the God and Father who will judge our every deed (1 Peter 1:17-19).
In the Scriptures, the most important example of a slave, however, is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Philippians 2:5-8, the Apostle Paul charges believers to have the same “mind” as that of Christ Jesus who, even though He was equal with God, took the form of a bondservant and was obedient to God to the point of a shameful, torturous death on a cross. Given Christ’s example of obedience, there is nothing in Scripture that God commands us to do or to relinquish that we could ever deem to be too much. We have our redeemed lives on this earth to learn to follow Him in obedience as we press on to glory.