1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
Paul identified himself in three different ways:
His rank: slave of Jesus Christ
His office: called to be an apostle
His mission: separated to the gospel of God
All three of these affirmations reflect the subsidiary role Paul played in spreading the gospel. He never put himself above God’s plan for his life. Now we come to Paul’s striking appraisal of himself.
Paul changed his name from Saul (Jewish name) to Paul during his first missionary expedition. He may have changed his name to facilitate travel in the Roman Empire. Paul was the only biblical writer who gave up his Jewish name for a Gentile name.
Paul was born into a wealthy family. He trained under Gamaliel in Jerusalem, where he amassed knowledge of Jewish law (Ac 22:3). He was the son of a Pharisee (Ac 23:6) and later became a Pharisee himself. Eventually he became a persecutor of the church, killing Christians along the way.
The apostle Paul was the human author of the book of Romans.
a bondservant of Jesus Christ,
First, Paul described himself as a “slave.” Paul was free because he was a citizen of the Roman Empire, yet he declared himself a slave. The word “bondservant” means one who sells himself in slavery to another. The Greek word is the term for an abject slave. Paul used this term in the sense of honor and privilege; it was not drudgery for him to serve the Lord. He viewed himself as belonging to Jesus Christ without reserve. He went from being a slave of Satan to being a slave of the Savior. It was an honor for him to serve the Lord.
Ga 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
God never calls us to be our own man.
God calls us to be women and men of God. As Paul put himself in the same category as the slaves of Rome, so we should put ourselves in the category of people who minister. We are all purchased with the blood of Christ. We owe, therefore, service to the King of kings.
Accepting the role of a slave for Jesus is the antithesis of the autonomy of today’s thinking among Christians. We hang onto a false panacea about freedom. This is a fundamental flaw. When we accept this false value, we become autonomous from God. We need to think of ourselves as the property of God. We should serve Him willingly. We should not view this as servitude but devotion.
Christians are free in Christ (Ga 5:1). This means God blessed us in grace, the grace of provisions by Christ’s death. We are free in Christ but we chose to give our lives to serve Him. Our freedom allows us to sacrificially love to the maximum. A woman loves a man not because he forces her to do so; she loves him because she is free to do so. She serves him because she wants to serve him. This has to do with the capacity found in her soul. The greater the capacity of knowledge from the Word of God, the greater our love for and service of the Lord. This does not come from superficial musical ditties about Jesus.
God does not call us to celebrity in ministry. Many preachers assume this role in the church today. Those in ministry should never elevate themselves above the servant role. Pride brings failure in ministry. Our ministry is by a decision of God, not by our decision.