Paul called himself a bondslave of Jesus Christ (Rom.1:1). That is what all the early apostles were. Jesus is looking today for bondslaves – not servants. There is a difference between a servant and a slave. A servant works for pay. A slave gets no salary. God has no servants under the new covenant, only bondslaves. Jesus never offered any salary to those whom He called to be His apostles. If we are called to full-time Christian work, let us ensure that we never work for a salary, or else we will end up as servants of men. Let us not serve our churches, expecting people to give us gifts. If they choose to do so, without our expecting anything from them, that is allright. But we should never expect anything from anyone. We must also make it a principle that we will never receive any money from those whose standard of living is lower than ours. The highest way to serve the Lord in full-time work, however, is the way Paul served the Lord as an apostle – by having some secular employment, so that we are not dependent on anyone’s gifts for our needs (1 Cor.9:14-18; 2 Cor.11:7-15; Acts 20:33,34). We cannot be servants of the new covenant, if we are working for pay. We must be bondslaves. If we feel that we have a right to comforts and conveniences, then we are paid servants, not bondslaves. A bondslave has no right to anything – not even to honour or reputation. If God gives us a house to live in, we are thankful. But we will serve Him, even if we don’t have a house to live in. The fact that He gives us the privilege to build the Body of Christ is more than enough for us when we are true bondslaves.
Romans 6:22 speaks of the past present and future of a true bondslave of God.
- In the past – freed from conscious sin.
- In the present – the fruit of progressive sanctification.
- In the future – eternal life (the fulness of the Divine nature).
First of all, we must be freed from conscious sin. Many don’t mourn for their secret failures and that is why they don’t come to a life of victory over sin. We may imagine that impurity in our thought-life is not important, because others don’t see that area of our lives. But it is there that God tests us to see whether we fear Him or not. Secondly: Increasing sanctification will be the primary fruit that comes forth from our lives, if we are true bondslaves of God. Bringing others to Christ and building them up in the faith will be the secondary fruit. If we are really serving the Lord, our labour will certainly result in increasing godliness in our personal lives. Sanctification is a process in which we get increasing light on the evil that dwells in our flesh, and in which, as we bear the dying of Jesus in our bodies, we partake more and more of the life of Jesus in area after area. If we are being sanctified, we will get light, for example, on the harshness of the tone of our voice when we speak to our family members, on our lack of love towards those we disagree with, on our seeking honour in our ministry, on our excessive talking and foolish jesting, and on the deadness of our preaching etc., etc…
And finally, the bondslave looks forward to partaking of God’s nature (eternal life) in all its fulness. That is the goal towards which every true bondslave of God presses on. As slaves of God, we may have to go through many trials, misunderstandings and false accusations, on earth. But it will be worth it all when we see Jesus, if we endure in love, until the end.