Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
One cannot be a bondservant without a lord. In the case of Paul, his Master was Jesus, the One whom Paul devoted himself to out of love. God gives us a choice of Who we devote ourselves to, Jesus Who we receive by faith, or Sin which we are born into. Jesus purchased our freedom from sin, but left us to choose to follow Him or to remain mastered by sin …it’s a choice of devotion. That devotion springs from an understanding of just how lost you once were without Jesus. Paul never would forget the deep, deep pit from which Jesus pulled Him out. In the final chapters of Acts we heard Paul recount just who he was before Christ. He was a Pharisee’s Pharisee and he was committed to the destruction of Christians. He hounded them from Synagog to Synagog, rooting them out and putting them in chains, even having them put to death. Paul hated Jesus and he hated Jesus’ followers. He was an enemy of Christ. Paul was very lost.
But Paul’s testimony didn’t end there. Jesus appeared to him on that road to Damascus, even as he was headed to persecute Christians. By God’s grace, Paul was rescued from the pit he was in. Jesus rescued Paul. This was something Paul would never forget. We also must not forget because it is an important part of Paul’s credentials and if we forget that, we will have a hard time understanding this amazing letter. This is the starting point of Paul’s credentials and an important one, without which he could not write with authority the things in his epistle to the Romans concerning yielding ourselves as slaves for obedience, and whether we yield ourselves to sin leading to death or to obedience leading to righteousness (Romans 6:16). Had Paul not been a bondservant of Christ, but merely an admirer of Christ, he would have been an impostor and we might place aside this letter saying it was written by a man with little integrity. Yet Paul’s life was yielded to Christ and he lived out those things that he wrote.
The same may be applied to our own lives. How can we point out the way to Jesus with our words if our lives are pointing another direction? And how can we point out the way to Jesus with our lives if our words are pointing another direction? We find in this world two masters one might choose to serve. Those 2 are (1) God and (2) Satan. Many people — even Christians — forget that Satan is a created being and that God is infinitely more powerful than him. We also forget that Satan is a real being with evil motives and evil desires. God and Satan are not equals, not in power nor in authority. God is supreme and sovereign. Those who reject Jesus, by default are accepting the rule of Satan. Every single person in this world is a servant either to Satan or to Christ.
Jesus told us in Luke 16 that, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Luke 16:13). When Paul was persecuting the church, he was in the service of Satan. Now, this was not something he knew. He didn’t bear some external mark or carry a “Minion of the Devil” card. But God says, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4) and, “The carnal or fleshly mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). Like Paul before he met Jesus, most non-Christians today do not realize that they belong to Satan and are serving him. I know that is strong language, but it’s what the Bible says. We are talking about the eternal destination of people and that is no light matter. To that point, there are also Christians who have been rescued by Jesus but live as if they are still in the pit. If you or I are like that, then how can we point anyone to Christ? It’s important not only that we have the Right Master, but that we are serving that Master. Are you, like Paul, a bondservant of Jesus? You will never be able to serve Jesus until He is your Master.