Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
Ultimately, a Christian is a slave of Jesus Christ, paid for by the sacrifice Christ made to remove our sins. During the time of Paul, a large portion of the population of the Roman Empire was in actual slavery and had no recourse. If they had the opportunity to obtain freedom, Paul said they should “use it.” And if they were not in servitude, Paul said “do not become slaves of men.”
To agree to slavery would likely cause the Christian to face conflicts between the master’s commands and God’s commands. And, as Peter explained in Acts 5:29, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Our Fundamental Belief “Military Service and War” lists these passages and explains:
“Being in the military would create problems keeping the Sabbath and holy days. Because Christians are to obey God rather than men, they need to maintain jurisdiction over their lives. Christians must be careful not to let human issues and concerns distract them from their role as ambassadors in God’s coming Kingdom.”
For more on this, see our Fundamental Belief “16. Military Service and War.”