Obedience is a willingness to submit ourselves to the will of God and to put it into effect. Scripture emphasizes the necessity for us to follow the commandments of Jesus, gives examples and reasons why we should, and describes the rewards that will be ours for obedience.
There is a reality of being a slave. You only have one Master. Jesus is clear on this when he says you can’t be a slave to God and money (aka wealth). Jesus drives the point home in many places. Being a slave is different from being a servant. I am the slave of Jesus.
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves (dŏulŏs) for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves (dŏulŏs) of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves (dŏulŏs) of righteousness. | Romans 6:16–18
Paul isn’t talking about being a servant. Paul is talking about be a slave. The word is δοῦλος (dŏulŏs).
I know. Obeying runs against the grain of what I want to do. Jesus demands that I am an obedient slave. That doesn’t sound like fun. It is demeaning. NO one wants to be a slave. I am not different in that regard. But that is what Jesus wants. Jesus is in charge of God’s kingdom. I am not. I am fortunate when I get that in my heart and soul.
Obedience is demanded of God’s people. Paul draws the connection to obedience in being a slave. Paul sees himself as a slave to Jesus. At the start of Romans, he declares “Paul, a slave of the Messiah Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the good news of God.” Paul sees this as good news. I must as well.
The illustration of the master and slave is obvious. Whatever you yield to becomes your master. Before you were saved, you were the slave of sin. Now that you belong to the Messiah Jesus, you are freed from that old slavery and made the slave of Jesus. The followers of Jesus ought to be as enthusiastic in yielding to the Master as he was in yielding to sin.
The unsaved person is free—free from righteousness. But his bondage to sin only leads him deeper into slavery so that it becomes harder and harder to do what is right.
The Prodigal Son is an example of this. When he was at home, he decided he wanted his freedom, so he left home to find himself and enjoy himself. But his rebellion only led him deeper into slavery. He was the slave of wrong desires, then the slave of wrong deeds; and finally he became a literal slave when he took care of the pigs. He wanted to find himself, but he lost himself! What he thought was freedom turned out to be the worst kind of slavery. It was only when he returned home and yielded to his father that he found true freedom.