"True Christianity is not about adding Jesus to my life. Instead, it is about devoting myself completely to Him - submitting wholly to His will and seeking to please Him above all else. It demands dying to self and following the Master, no matter the cost. In other words, to be a Christian is to be Christ's slave."
John MacArthur is meticulous if nothing else. His attention to detail and his faithfulness to the Scriptures has been a hallmark for many years. This book, Slave; The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ, is no different.
From the start, Slave, identifies what it means to be called a Christian. "When we call ourselves Christians, we proclaim to the world that everything about us, including our self-identity, is found in Jesus Christ because we have denied ourselves in order to follow and obey Him. He is both Savior and our Sovereign, and our lives center on pleasing Him". That is indeed a good biblical explanation of what a Christian is. But is there a word that the Bible uses more than any other to identify the followers of Jesus? "In a word, we are His slaves".
One thing that I admire and and respect about John MacArthur is that he doesn't just say things for shock value. He says some shocking things, no doubt, but the motive has always been an obedience to the charge found in 2 Timothy 4:2 - "Preach the Word!" So when one is confronted with the truth that "the gospel is not simply an invitation to become Christ's associate; it is a mandate to become His slave", they are also given ample biblical and historical evidence to this "glorious reality". As MacArthur points out, "the truth of God's Word is always countercultural...To present the good news in terms of a slave/master relationship...is controversial, confrontational, and politically incorrect. Yet that is precisely the way the Bible speaks about what it means to follow Christ".
There is a reason the Bible does just that and that is to exult Christ; He is Lord. MacArthur masterfully reveals the fact we are "His exclusive possession". As such, the disciples life should be marked by complete submission, singular devotion, total dependence, and personal accountability to Christ. "Whether or not our faithfulness is rewarded in this life doesn't really matter. One day we will stand before Christ to be recompensed in full. What a glorious day that will be!"
Slave is a excellent and thoroughly biblical work on the Lordship of Christ and the nature of the gospel as revealed in the doctrines of grace. "In order to fully grasp what it means to be a slave of Christ, we need to understand our previous slavery to sin - a universal reality". The ugliness of sin that pervades the lives the unregenerate is such that it is completely blinding. The promise of satisfaction that sin makes ultimately ends in condemnation. "The astonishing reality is that even if the sinner could change the condition of his heart - which Scripture teaches is impossible (Jer. 13:23) - no unbeliever would ever will to do so". But God..."in saving us from sin, God initiated and accomplished everything". As MacArthur titles chapter nine; Saved from Sin, Slaved by Grace.
The book then shifts to the worship inspiring truth that the Christian moves from slave to son because of "the marvellous doctrine of adoption". "The incomparable reality of adoption is this: If God is our master, then He is also our Father".
Slave closes by highlighting four compelling paradoxes; slavery brings freedom, slavery ends prejudice, slavery magnifies grace, and slavery pictures salvation. It ends the way it began - asking a question, what does it mean to be a Christian?
"The gospel message is not simply a plan of salvation; it is a call to embrace the person of salvation. And He is both Savior and Lord; the two cannot be separated. To truly come to Christ is to willingly surrender your heart, mind, and will - the whole person - to the Master..."He is the demanding Lord as well as the delivering Savior"".
Slave; The hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ is an excellent book for many reasons. But one reason stands far above any other. It magnifies Jesus, our Lord and Christ! I am certain that was the goal. I am equally certain it was accomplished. When I closed it's pages for the last time, I thought of those two little words at the end of the subtitle - In Christ. What a glorious place to be, and all "to the praise of His glorious grace" (Eph. 1).
Love in the Truth.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes by the publisher.