Child or Servant? Or Both?
Webster’s dictionary defines the word “dichotomy” as “a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities.”  Meaning, a dichotomy is two things being divided into completely separate sides because they are contradictory to each other. They don’t match.
Common examples of dichotomies are good and evil, Heaven and Hell, male and female. These are examples of things where you cannot be one and the other at the same time. You cannot be good while also being evil. You cannot be in Heaven while simultaneously dwelling in Hell. And contrary to popular belief, you cannot be a male at the same time that you are a female. These are “either or” scenarios. They are dichotomies.
There is also something called a “false dichotomy.” This is a scenario that we mistakenly create where one is given only two choices as if they are the only choices available. These false dichotomies often stem from a person’s own personal convictions. Really, their own strongly held opinions. They are more emotional than they are reasonable. There are many example like them, they are prevalent within the Body of Christ, and they often only serve to divide us rather than to help us “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
One false dichotomy we want to address is the false distinction between identity as children of God and being servants of God. It seems that many Christ-followers, especially the younger generation of believers, are under the impression that there is a difference between being a child of God and being a servant of God. That Christians are called to choose between one or the other. Either you consider yourself a child of God or you think of yourself as His servant. You cannot have both.
This, however, is a false dichotomy that is ultimately not rooted in Scripture. The Bible does not make any distinction between identity as children of God and servants of God.
Now, one might be tempted to jump to passages such as John 15:15 where Jesus tells His disciples:
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
But this is the same Jesus who rebukes the church in Sardis saying, “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.”
This is the same Jesus who as the Son of God came to earth in service to His Father.
Or perhaps you might want to jump Galatians 4:7 where Paul writes:
“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
This is the same Apostle Paul, however, who wrote to the Romans, “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” He wrote to the Colossians, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
The writer of Hebrew rejoices at the Gospel saying, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”
The point is, there is no distinction between being a child of God and His servant. No doubt, the grace of God has granted us that we become His children. As the Apostle John put it,
“Yet to all who did receive [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Amen! We are children of God! Those of us who have been born again, granted the Holy Spirit of God, we have within us the Spirit who cries out, “Abba, Father!” But it’s this same Spirit within us, the Spirit of Adoption, who enables us to walk as Christ did. Serving the will of our Father who is in Heaven.
In fact, there is nothing more Christ-like than serving our Father by serving others. By blessing the nations and advancing His Kingdom. By making ourselves servants of all in response to the love of God and as an expression of our love for Him. Look at what Paul says to the Philippians:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
We want to encourage you today to embrace your life as a child of God, serving the will of your Father in Heaven. Not to earn His approval. Not to earn your salvation. Not to earn anything at all. But because as a child of the living God, you know that it is a privilege and an honor to serve your Father and glorify His name among the nations.
We want you to consider Jesus, who as the only begotten Son, made the will of His Father top priority. He said He worked because His Father was working. He received a body so that He could do the will of His Father. He told His followers that the greatest among them must be servant of all, since He Himself came to serve.
Service to God is part of what it means to be children of God. It’s part of what it means to be among His Good and Faithful. We don’t work to earn our adoption. It is because we have been adopted that we no longer work to serve ourselves, right? It is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us! And Christ’s chief focus is to do the will of the Father! And so is ours, because ARE the Good and Faithful!
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