Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Freed to Serve

Christians often fail to recognize the nature of their life in Christ. We have been set apart as the servants of Christ. It appears as a great paradox. On one hand we enjoy a marvelous liberty in the Gospel. The Law ceases to exercise dominion over us. It can no longer condemn us. Our flesh no longer dominates us and Satan's shackels have been shattered. On the other hand, we have entered a life of servitude to Christ. We have exchanged masters. Instead of serving the flesh and sin we are now the servants of Christ and of righteousness (see Romans 6:16-22). Jesus describes His yoke as a light yoke (Matthew 11:28-30). The Law is no longer an impossible burden but a delight. We joyfully obey and serve our gracious Master.

Paul describes this relationship in Romans 1:1 using the Greek word, doulos. It literally refers to a slave who has been purchased by his master. The NASB translates it "bond-servant." The Christian Standard Version actually uses the word "slave." A slave is under the full dominion of his master. Paul further describes this relationship in 1 Cor. 6:19-20 -- "do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." Coming to Christ is dying to self and receiving Him as our Lord and Master. It is to humbly bow in submission to Christ and declare His right to rule over us.

How does our life of service reveal itself practically? For the Christian it is largely a matter of how we view ourselves through the transfoming grace of regeneration and the renewing of our mind. In Romans 12:1-2 Paul commands his readers to present their bodies as a living sacrifice which he describes as our "spiritual service of worship." As followers of Christ our lives are characterized by the denying of self (Matthew 16:24-26). Notice in Romans 1:1 that Paul's chief description of himself was that of a servant. He saw himself as a servant even before seeing himself as an Apostle. In Ephesians 5:21 Paul wrote, "be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." He then described how this affects our lives. Wives submit themselves to their husbands as they serve Christ. Husbands give themselves sacrificially for the well-being of their wives. Children submit to their parents; slaves to their masters, and on and on.

How do you view your life? Before God saved us our greatest desire was to satisfy oursleves; we were slaves to sin and our own flesh. But now the passion of our life is how we might serve Christ and His church. Does this describe the desire of your heart? Are you a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ?

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