Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart…
I. THE DUTY OF A SERVANT IS TO OBEY HIS MASTER IN ALL THINGS RELATING TO HIS STATE OF SERVITUDE. There is nothing degrading in service. It is the employment of angels, and is ennobled by the example of Christ. To obey in all things is not pleasant or easy; but the Christian servant will strive to accomplish the task. He consults not his own but his master's will, nay, time. But his employer is only according to the flesh, and has no power over the spirit; nor is he to command anything forbidden by God.
II. THE SERVANT'S DUTY IS TO BE DISCHARGED IN A SPIRIT OF SINCERITY.
1. Free from duplicity. From the treatment he received the slave was tempted to be diligent in the presence of his master, but indolent and reckless in his absence. Christianity has elevated man from slavery, and provided him with the highest motives to moral action.
2. It is to be done in the fear of God. "Fearing God" — the one Lord as contrasted with the master according to the flesh. The Christian servant has a conscience to satisfy. The fear of the Lord is the holiest motive power in all acceptable service. He who serves man as he seeks to serve God will take care that the Divine and human interests do not collide.
III. THE SERVANT IS TO ACT FROM THE LOFTIEST RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLE.
1. In every duty God is to be recognized. "And whatsoever ye do, do it as to the Lord, and not unto men." This will give a moral dignity to the most menial employment, and exalt the common drudgery of toil into a means of religious refreshment.
2. In every duty the best powers should be exercised. "Do it heartily." If the heart be engaged, it will put into operation the best powers of the whole man. No work is well done when the heart is not in it.
IV. FAITHFUL SERVICE WILL MEET WITH A GLORIOUS REWARD (ver. 24).
V. EVERY ACT OF INJUSTICE WILL MEET WITH IMPARTIAL RETRIBUTION (ver. 25). Some regard the wrong-doer referred to in this verse as the servant who defrauds the master of his service; others, as the master who defrauds the servant of his just recompense. But the words announce a general principle which is equally applicable to both. The philosophers of Greece taught, and the laws of Rome assumed, that the slave was a chattel, and that as a chattel, he had no rights. The New Testament shows that between both there is a reciprocity of duties and of penalties. The injustice done in the world, whether by master or by servant, shall be impartially redressed, and the injured one vindicated at the day of final retribution.
Parallel VersesKJV: Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: