A Servant of Christ Jesus
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God…” (Romans 1:1 NIV)
Notice how the apostle Paul identifies himself in his letter to the believers in Rome. He calls himself a “servant” of Christ Jesus. A closer examination of the original language shows that the word here does not mean a hired servant, nor does it mean an attendant in service to another, as Joshua was to Moses in the Old Testament. Here, the word “servant” meant a total “bondslave,” with no rights or will of his own to do anything. The image you get is one of complete servitude; even before the master’s hand is up to ask for something, the bondslave is moving to do the bidding of his lord.
This can sound foreign to people in this day and age of “me, myself, and I,” when we’re told to put ourselves first so that we’re not relegated to the back of the line in life. Sadly, this spirit can get into the church as well; and the words of Paul can seem quaint at best, and definitely not a goal for some modern-day Christians.
The truth of the matter, however, is that being a bondslave of Jesus Christ means, not debasement or restriction for the believer, but rather, freedom! The Bible says that whom the Lord sets free is free indeed. It seems paradoxical, doesn’t it? That’s because the Master whom we serve is Jesus, who laid down his very life to set us free from our sins and from the sentence of death that was upon us. What a wonderful Lord! How will he not provide, not only freedom, but everything else that we need as well?
So what will it be for you and for me? What is your plan for your life? Is it to be a servant who will do what Jesus wants you to do and be what he wants you to be, or do you have your own ideas and your own five-year plan for how you want things to work out? The apostle Paul wore the title “bondslave” as a badge of honor, and he was secure in his calling. Do we have that same assurance? It’s ours for the asking.
Today, let’s make him, not only our Savior, but also our Lord.
Read Romans 1:1-7.