Masters and Servants (Employer and Employee)
I Peter 2:28-25
The next area Peter talks about is the relationship between masters and servants. It is difficult for us to quite comprehend as we do not relate to a master servant relationship. So perhaps a better way of stating, one we can all understand, that being the relationship between employer and employee. It is a delicate matter that if the talk about the government didn’t get you upset, this might. But, that is not our purpose, our purpose is to examine the Christian aspect of how the Christian is asked to live in the society and work in the society in which they live.
The original language used stresses absolute lordship over slaves. Why? Because many converts in the early church lived in physical bondage to earthly masters the church leaders found it necessary to approach the problem of slavery from a practical, rather than an ideal, point of view (see Deuteronomy 14:26). Christians slaves were to win the esteem and kindness of their masters by manifesting faithfulness, loyalty, humility, patience, and a forgiving spirit.
Peter goes on to say in verse nineteen, “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.” Verse 20 brings the point home: “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.”
The point Peter is trying to make the point that by making continued mistakes, against either God or man, then what glory does this to God. By refusing to be an obedient slave the Christians servant is violating God’s command as well as defying the desires of his earthly master. Thus, his Christian reputation is depreciated among the heathen, and in God’s sight.
Christ, who submitted to earthly authority in allowing Himself to be crucified was also our example in how to serve our fellow men. Verse twenty literally reads, “For unto this you were called,” The Christian has been called to do good and to perhaps suffer in the doing of that. An employee or any church member for that matter, who cheerfully complied with the requirements made of him might, at times, be abused, but he was to suffer his abuse uncomplainingly.
But for the Christian that is an employer, you have the responsibility to treat your employees as Christ would have treated you had you been an employee of His. In fact, to a certain degree, you are working for Christ for it is heaven itself that has given you the very business you own. If we consider Christ to be the giver of all we have then why would we mistreat the resources that have been loaned to us which include those that are in service to you.