“As Christ is Lord so the Christian is slave, even bond-slave, owing unquestioning obedience. Paul explicitly compares spiritual with literal slavery (e.g. Colossians 3:22-24), speaks of slave-marks and seals of Christ’s possession, and works out in detail the conception of the Christian as purchased, belonging to his Lord: ‘Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price.’ To be alive at all ‘means fruitful labor’ — the slave exists only to work! (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20, Philippians 1:22) So represented, consecration is complete moral submission to Christ’s absolute claim and ownership.” (Reginald O. White, Christian Ethics, 166).
In my humble opinion, this is what defines Martin Luther King Jr. and his passion to end the institution of civil-slavery in his era. As he defined in his famous speech, “One hundred years later the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination…One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.” Obviously referring to the institution of slavery that was abolished a century earlier by Abraham Lincoln. Yet the shadows of that erroneous institution continued to live on. Martin Luther King Jr. was driven by the conviction of his faith in the Lord. He was driven by Heaven’s call for justice, “We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation…Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
“He does not preserve the life of the wicked, but gives justice to the oppressed.” – Job 36:6
“The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice.” – Psalm 37:30
However, the greatest trait of Martin Luther King Jr. was his unwavering faith in the Lord. This was defined by staring in to the face of injustice and hatred. He stood immovable by strength received from his hope in the Lord. This is how we need to live our lives. We need to live with God-fearing tenacity of soul, without fear of man. We need to live without compromise. To continue in the words of King:
“With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
As slaves to freedom, Christians can learn a tremendous amount from the life and words of Martin Luther King Jr. In his last speech King stated that he had been to the mountaintop. That God granted him the opportunity to see the other side. This is a great visual of our lives as Christians. We are to live in complete submission to God and His will for our lives.
“Corresponding to Christ’s absolute and exclusive ownership of believers in him is their total and sole devotion to him. Isaiah 44:5 indicates that after the exile some faithful Jews would unashamedly say, ‘I belong to Yahweh,’ while others would actually write ‘Yahweh’s’ on their hands, to indicate whose slaves they were. Most Christians do not bear any ‘brand-marks of Jesus’ (Galatians 6:17) as Paul did, but they might rightly say, ‘I belong to Christ’ (1 Corinthians 1:12), and may, figuratively speaking, write ‘Christ’s’ on their hands, to indicated whose slaves they are.” (Murray J. Harris, Slave of Christ, 113).
I commit to live my life for Christ. I commit to live as a slave to freedom. I belong to Him. I am not my own.
“The Servant-Son makes us slaves and sons…[A]nd if you will trust yourselves to Him, and give your hearts to Him, and ask Him to govern you, He will govern you; and if you will abandon your false liberty which is servitude, and take the sober freedom which is obedience, then He will bring you to share in His [blessings] of joyful service; and even we may be able to say, ‘My meat and my drink is to do the will of Him that sent me,’ and truly saying that, we shall have the key to all delights.” (Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, the Acts, 149)
…”Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” ~ Martin Luther King Jr. Thank you Dr. King for your life well lived. Thank you Jesus for using such a man to bring hope and confidence to a divided nation.