June 12

Paul, a bondservant (or bond-slave) of Jesus Christ… Romans 1:1

Paul does not refer to himself as a disciple anywhere in his writings.  His preferred word is ‘bond-slave’ – indicating that he saw himself as belonging entirely to Jesus Christ.  This concept of slavery underlies his whole view of his relationship with Christ.  A slave has no rights – he has no free time, he has no right to choose what clothes he wears, or when and where he will go on holiday.  The slave has no rights at all, and no wages.  The reason is that he is owned by his master.  This recognition of the Lord’s entire ownership of our lives is the point at which the cross becomes reality in us.  “…you are not your own… For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  Redemption means not only that we were bought in the slave market and made free; it also means a change of ownership.  Yet this slavery is perfect freedom, for the slave is the property and the responsibility of his Master.  While a slave has no rights, he also has no burden to carry for his own life.  His only burden is the Master’s will.  All his food, clothes and means of transport are provided for by his Master.  So he is not anxious about any day or about the future, knowing that his Master has everything under control.  The cross is to us perfect liberty as we recognise the wonderful Master who now has the rights over our entire life.