The slave mentality is the result of little or no maturity in Christ. Salvation is the front door of God’s Kingdom, but it is only the front door. Once we enter through the new birth we must mature, and maturity is a choice. Sadly, there seems to be a glut of screaming babies blocking the gates to the Kingdom with messy diapers, all wanting a bottle, a burp, and their own way.
Perhaps a first century explanation from the apostle Paul will focus the spotlight on what I am trying to say. In Galatians 4:1-2, he discusses a very common cultural practice in raising children in his day. Think of it this way, if a father dies and leaves great wealth for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey guardians until they reach whatever age their father set.
In the first century children born in status and privilege were placed under the care and tutelage of a well educated slave. This slave taught and mentored the young heir until maturity, at about twelve years of age. Until that day came, the child was in reality a slave. The child’s relationship by blood to the father was both heir de jure (heir by legal right) and heir de facto (heir in fact). The legal right came at birth, but the reality of living in the benefits (the fact) came only at maturity.
Most believers are living out this first century model but never maturing. The reason is it is ineffective. A slave can only educate another with what he knows. This education is really an infection. Sons and daughters are infected with a slave mentality—stinking thinking. If your teacher or mentor or shepherd thinks like a slave, guess what? Their students will also think like slaves. We reproduce what and who we are. And for centuries the church has produced far more intellectual pygmies than spiritual giants. Those pious pygmies, in turn, have reproduced slaves with a poverty gospel of shame, fear, works, or intimidation. The enemy has convinced the blue bloods they are nothing more than cattle—too stupid to think for themselves. The precious truth of the priesthood of every believer has been lost, and the enemy has craftily hidden it in his pocket. We’ve traded our birthright for a “free get out of hell” ticket, satisfied that this is all Jesus purchased on the cross.
But if you follow Paul’s argument carefully you will find he arrives at a completely different destination than most of today’s church. He declares in no uncertain terms that due to Christ’s atoning work on the cross and our faith in that work, we have become both heir de jure and heir de facto. We no longer need a slave to teach us; we have the Holy Spirit—we have God to bring us to maturity. We are not slaves but rather sons and daughters of God. Maturity in Christ is a part of our inheritance. It has nothing to do with age but all to do with choice, passion, and heart’s desire. We are positional sons totally forgiven; not paroled sinners doing penitence. Grace has saved us and transformed us from slaves to saints—from bondage to blue bloods.
Paul ends with a stinging question in Galatians 4:9 that would probably do us good to consider: But now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God (my emphasis of salvation’s truth), how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things (those beggarly principles taught by demons), to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?
Why, indeed, would you choose to be a slave when in reality you are a son or daughter? Why would you listen to the doctrines of demons when you’ve been given the divine truth?