Paul uses some interesting language in this verse. He calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ – literally a slave. It’s interesting, because on various occasions Paul made a point of proving his freedom.
Once he was arrested and he asked the guard why he was being denied his right to a trial as a Roman citizen. The guard explained that he, personally, had to buy his freedom. Paul, on the other hand, said that he was born a free Roman citizen.
At that time, if you were born a slave, you were expected to be a slave forever – there was no escaping it. Under Roman law, a slave could find out his “sale price” from his master. Then, if he saved enough money, he could pay the buying price to and have the ownership transferred to one of the many Roman gods. Then, as a slave to that god, could serve as a free man.
I believe this was in the back of Paul’s mind as he penned these words. We are all born under slavery to sin. That was our unfortunate lot for the rest of our lives.
Jesus Christ paid the “slave price” for us. Now, just as Paul did, we need to transfer the ownership of our lives over to God. As God’s slaves we can now serve as free citizens of the kingdom of Heaven.
We have to live under this knowledge if we are to have a fulfilling life in Christ. We don’t own our lives.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!
Christ, Himself, set the standard of living that we need to follow. He said that He came to live a life of service. That should be our attitude as well.
The Apostle Peter understood this truth.
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
1 Peter 2:16
In the first verse above, Paul said that as a slave, he was called to be sent forth as an apostle. Once we’ve transferred the ownership of our lives to God, our callings will open up to us. We are now free to serve Him to the best of our ability.
Paul finished off the verse by saying that he was set apart to the Good News. That literally means that we are set off by a boundary. The Good News is our field of service.
This is the attitude that will push you to great things in the body of Christ.
Question: Have you transferred the ownership rights of your life to the Lord?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013