Devotional: ‘Servants of Christ’

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Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:1-2 ESV

Many have said that Paul was the greatest Christian who ever lived. Nearly half of the New Testament was penned by Paul and certainly his life is a great example for each of us to follow. Yet Paul did not exalt himself as a great man. Instead he referred to himself as being a servant. Notice how he began his letter to the Philippians – “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus…” 

Actually the word that Paul used actually referred to someone who was much more than a servant. The word that Paul used here referred to someone who was a slave. Many believe that Paul’s greeting should say – “Paul and Timothy, the slaves of Jesus Christ.”

Today slavery is looked down upon and rightfully so. It is sinful to force anyone to serve us against their will. But the word Paul used does not refer to someone who is forced to serve, bur rather someone who chooses to serve. Consider this passage from the Old Testament:

Exodus 21:2 When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing… 5 But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master… I will not go out free,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever. ESV 

Notice that although this man had every right to go free, of his own free will he chose to remain a slave.

Scripture says that Jesus came to set the captives free. [1] There was a time when you and I were in bondage to sin. Jesus said, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” [2] By giving His life as a ransom for us, Jesus purchased us out of slavery to sin and set us free.

The question now is – ‘What shall we do with our freedom?’ Shall we view our freedom as a license to sin? Paul’s reply to that question was – GOD FORBID! [3] God forbid that we should place so little value on Christ’s great sacrifice and abuse our freedom by using it as a license to sin. Instead, with our freedom, we should choose to serve Him. Much like the man in the book of Exodus who chose to remain a slave of his earthly master, we should chose to become a servant of Christ.

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[1] Luke 4:18

[2] John 8:34

[3] Romans 6:1

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