Romans 1:1 “Bondservant”

Paul’s letter to the Romans is a beautiful tribute to the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And, Paul begins the letter by identifying himself as a “bondservant of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1)  The term “bondservant” is the word for a common “slave” in the Roman empire.  Rome in Paul’s time benefited greatly from the oppressive slave labor.  Slaves had no individuality or freedom.  Slaves could not make their own choices in life.  Slaves were mere property of their owner, and could be easily neglected, abused, or even killed.  No one would desire to be a slave.  No one would actually choose to be a slave.  Yet, Paul gladly declares his willingness to be a slave of Jesus.  It is a foreign concept to our 21st century American ears.  In our country, we (rightly) love freedom, and we (rightly) hate slavery.  We champion religious freedom, economic freedom, political freedom, and the freedom of speech and press.  But, there is one area where a Christian has no freedom.  When it comes to our own individual moral choices, we are slaves of Jesus.  Our lives are not our own.  He has purchased us with the price of his own blood.  And, so we refuse to be oppressed or owned by any other human being.  We yearn to be free from any tyrannical regime with unjust laws and regulations.  But, we joyfully offer ourselves as slaves to the One who died for our sins.  That is the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ!