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Note 1 on Romans 1:1: Being a Servant, Destiny, God's Purpose, Faith, Holiness and other thoughts




Verses 1- 7 mark the introduction to the epistle to the Romans. The epistle begins with an introduction.

In this introduction, we learn a few things.

Verse 1

At the beginning of his epistle, Paul introduces himself as, "a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God".

“… a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ”

The word rendered "servant" here means "slave." Some commentators and Bible translations have expressed it as "bondservant" or "bond-slave", both of which essentially mean the same thing- slave. So essentially, Paul is introducing himself as a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does that mean?

For our purposes, we will define a slave as someone “who is the property of another person and whose labor and life often is subject to the owner's volition." (Wiktionary). In other words, there is the presence of two elements: the ownership of one person by another and the owner’s right of service from his property or the legal obligation upon the person owned to serve the owner.  

Therefore, being a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ simply means being owned by the Lord and subject to His will.

This means that like Paul all believers are slaves of the Lord for we are all owned by Him:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1Co 6:19,20 (KJV)

1Co 7:23 (KJV) Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

Act 20:28 (KJV) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

See also Eph. 1:14; 2 Pt. 2:1; and 1 Pt. 2:9 where ‘peculiar people’ really means God’s own possession/acquisition. A similar meaning is also applicable to ‘peculiar people’ in Tit. 2:14.

We are also subject to the Lord and are to live unto/for Him:

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness- Rom. 6:18

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Rom.6:22. In these Scriptures, Paul explains that when we became born-again, we were freed from the captivity of sin and became servants or slaves of righteousness and God. The word servants here actually means slaves, both in the Greek and from the context.

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.- (2Co 5:15 KJV).

(Rom 14:7-9 KJV)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

See also 1 Cor.6: 19,20; 9:21; Rom.6: 13,19; 8:7-9; 14:7-9; Col.3:17,23,24; Eph. 6:6,7; 1Pt.2:24.

We see then from these verses that as Christians, we are all slaves of the Lord for we are all bought (and owned by Him) by Him and are subject to Him. (N.B. In some of these Scriptures, the King James Version translates the word in the Greek “doulus” which means slaves as servants, perhaps because of the negative meanings attached to the word. However, as we shall see in this study, none of those negative meanings apply to us as believers in Christ.)

Now from the Scriptures: Acts 20:28 and Rev. 5:9; 14:3,4, we understand that the price that was paid for us was the blood of the only beloved begotten Son of the Father, Jesus Christ. And we know that his blood was also the price paid for our redemption- ransom/deliverance.

Therefore, we understand that by the shedding of the blood of Christ we were both redeemed and purchased unto God! This means that His redemption was also His purchase of us which lets us know that His purchase of us was one of love. It is because of love that He made us His own: Eph. 5:2, 25-27; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; Tit. 3:4.

But to what end are we slaves of God? To what end were we purchased? We already know that it is for good because it was of love.

1 Pet. 2:9 says But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar (purchased) people; that ye should shew forth the praises (virtues, excellent attributes) of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Words in parenthesis mine.

We were purchased to show forth or declare the excellencies of our God! See also Eph.1:5,6 where it says that He has predestined us, to be to the praise of the glory of His grace.

Gal.3:1314; 4:5 tell us that we were redeemed (and purchased) from the law and its curse so that we could receive the adoption of sons (which is the same as receiving the blessings of Abraham that is, the promise of the Spirit through faith- Gal.3:14). This means that He bought us out from under the dominion of the law for Himself so that we could become sons of God and therefore heirs of the Father and joint-heirs with Him: Rom.8:17.

In other words, He bought us so we could become sons of God, so we could share in His commonwealth, so that we could own all! 

This is also corroborated by John 3:16 which says For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Everlasting (or eternal) life is overflowing abundant life; it is life to the full and it is the life of the Son of God. His death (by which it is said that He purchased us to Himself) and resurrection makes eternal life accessible to everyone. 

We are therefore made slaves of the Lord in order that we might have everlasting life- life to the full! See also John 10:10; 1 John 5:11-13

In view of this, the logical next question is, “If we were made slaves, that is, purchased and made subject to God so that we could become His sons and daughters and therefore His heirs, full of everlasting life and displaying His excellencies, how then do we ensure that this is accomplished?

The answer is simple and lies in the question. That is, if we were made slaves so that we could become sons and daughters of the Most High King full of everlasting life and displaying His excellencies, the key to realizing the objects of our slavery (manifesting as sons and daughters) is by remaining slaves to God.

See, a slave is also a servant; he serves his Master. Simply put, since we have been made subject to God we are to remain or live in subjection to Him. And it is for this reason that Scripture tells us that we are to live unto Him. It is His right of service as our owner, it is our obligation to Him as His possession:

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.- (2Co 5:15 KJV).

(Rom 14:7-9 KJV)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

See also 1 Cor.6: 19,20; Rom.6: 13,19; 14:7-9; Col.3:17,23,24; Eph. 6:6,7; 1Pt.2:24.


But how then do we live in subjection to the Lord? How do we live in service to God? The answer is simple and therein lies a difference between the servitude of the Lord and that with which we are most familiar with.

If we were made slaves so that we could become sons and daughters of the Most High King full of everlasting life and displaying His excellencies/the glory of His grace then it follows that in being what He purchased us to be we are living in subjection to Him. That is, while it is true that the key to achieving what He purchased us for is by remaining slaves to Him, it is also true that in being what He purchased us for we are living in subjection to Him!

And how are the objects for which He purchased us realized?

Reading Gal.3:13,14 we see that we were redeemed/ purchased so that we could receive the blessing of Abraham, which is the promise of the Spirit through faith which from Gal.4:5 is the same as receiving the adoption as sons. Therefore, we can most assuredly say that we receive the adoption as sons through faith! In short then, by walking by faith we are living in subjection to God!

I explain this in several other ways:

1
Heb. 11:5,6 lets us know that by walking by faith we are pleasing God and therefore submitting to Him for in pleasing God (which happens only by faith) we are coming to Him the right way! 

We know that we are purchased to declare His excellencies- 1 Pet.2:9- which we know from Eph.1:5,6 is realized by the adoption of sons through Jesus Christ which is the same as being conformed to the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ (that He might be the firstborn among many brethren)- Rom.8:29. And we know from 2 Cor.3:18 that we are changed into the image of the Lord as by the Spirit. And we know that by praying in the Spirit we are building ourselves up on our most holy faith- Jude 1:20- which happens until we all come into the fullness of the stature of Christ: Eph.4:12,13. Therefore, by praying in the Spirit- in tongues, or in tongues and interpretation or understanding we are being built up (through faith) into sons and as such living in subjection or walking in obedience to God.

3
Rom.8:14: “as many as are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God.” We understand that this (tutelage/guidance of the Spirit) is accomplished through speaking in tongues for by speaking in tongues we yield ourselves to the leadership of the Spirit for it is us speaking as the Holy Ghost gives us utterance- Acts 2:24 which is the same as speaking in words which the Holy Ghost teaches us- 1 Cor.2:13 and we know that by His teaching He is guiding us for even as He has taught us we will abide in the Son- 1 John 2:27 cf. John 16:13.

Again John 16:13 itself is proof that as we speak in tongues we being led by the Spirit for it says that the Spirit guides us into all truth because whatsoever He hears that shall He speak to us and we know that by speaking in tongues the Spirit is essentially taking of that which is of the Son (and therefore ours for we are joint-heirs with Him) and revealing it to us- 1 Cor.2:9-11.

4
2 Cor.3:18: with unveiled faces beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, that is, we are changed into the exact image of the glory of the Lord as we are led by the Spirit. Now, the Bible says that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ- Rom.8:17. This means that Christ’s glory is our glory- John 17:22. Therefore, from 1 Cor.2:7 we understand that by speaking in tongues we are changed into that glorious image from glory to glory for that it is the means God has ordained for our glory.

To see a practical example of this in Scriptures observe that in Luke 9:28,29 the Bible records that as Jesus began to pray He was transformed. Likewise, as joint-heirs with Him, as we pray in the Spirit we are, in effect, mirroring or reflecting His glory, and therefore being transformed into that same image of glory for speaking in tongues or praying in the Spirit is the Spirit taking of that which is Jesus’s (and ours) and showing it to us: cf. 1 Cor. 2:9-13. Therefore, by speaking in tongues we experience and make manifest the glory of the Lord which is the reason for which He purchased us. Therefore, by speaking in tongues we are submitting ourselves to Him

5
Gal.3:2,3,5: we understand from these Scriptures that it is only through the Spirit that we are perfected which is a process that happens through the “hearing of faith” signifying that faith speaks. In other words, through the message of faith (the gospel) or the hearing of the words of faith we are perfected. See and compare Rom.1:17 and Prov.4:18. From this we understand that faith speaks! For we all have the same spirit of faith and even as it is written, “I believe therefore I speak” we also believe and therefore we speak- 2 Cor.4:13.

Therefore, we understand that in walking by faith which involves the hearing of faith, praying in the Spirit, confessing the truth of God’s word, singing and giving thanks, and listening to the word of God we are submitting ourselves to God! For in doing this we are becoming what God purchased us to be.

In sum, then, it is overwhelmingly clear from these Scriptures that in walking by faith we are living in subjection to God. It is why the Bible says that the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith- Rom.1:17. Compare 2Cor.5:15; Gal.2:20; 1 John 4:9 (living unto the Son is living through faith in Him and living through faith in Him is living through Him and living through Him is living in subjection to God).

Again from Rom. 10:3 we understand that through faith or by walking in faith we submit ourselves to (or obey) the righteousness of God. Therefore, we understand that the way we yield ourselves (or members) slaves unto righteousness is by walking by faith. And we understand from Rom.6:13,18,22 that being slaves of righteousness is the same as being slaves of God which produces holiness. Therefore, living in holiness is simply walking by faith.

Now I can explain and prove this through all the Scriptures I have just explained but suffice it to say that if the end destination of holiness is everlasting (or eternal) life- Rom.6:22 and if by believing in the Lord we have everlasting life- John 3:16, it therefore means that by believing in the Lord or by walking by faith we are walking or living in holiness!

Again, if holiness is purity and the Bible says in Acts 15:9 that our hearts are purified through faith, it means that we are made holy through faith! And if holiness is a state of separation faith separates us for by the very nature of his belief one who believes is separated alongside other believers from others; he is called a believer. He is not of them that “draw back unto perdition but of them that believe to the saving of the soul”- Heb.10:39 (and by this we understand that the walk of faith of which we speak is a continuous constant thing).

Considering the above, it must be stated here that those who affirm that, whilst the Bible declares that we are holy, we still have an obligation to live holy should realize that in walking by faith we are fulfilling that obligation.

It sounds too simple to be true to say that in walking by faith we are walking in holiness or living in subjection to God but it is true. Too often the very simple things tend to be complicated for many perhaps because our minds are wired to accept and believe that which is really complicated. Perhaps therefore, the apostle cautions that no one should corrupt us from the simplicity that is in Christ- 2 Cor.11:3.

Dearly Beloved, the message of the gospel is truly a simple one! It is that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"! John 3:16. And in that everlasting life we have all and more for it is life to the full (John 10:10). If thou canst believe, all things are possible… .

If you would like to accept Jesus into your heart and receive this life please pray this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God. I believe that you died for my sins and that God raised you from the dead because of my justification. I confess you as my Lord and Saviour and I ask you to come into my heart and fill me with your love, life and Spirit. Thank you for answering my prayers in your name! Amen!           

If you prayed this prayer please let me know by sending an email to hargleyj@gmail.com, I’ll be glad to hear from you. Your best life starts now!

Conclusion
In conclusion, (and to really simplify everything) this is the summary of all that we have said:

Alongside Paul, every believer is a slave (translated servant) of the Lord for He bought and owns us and we are all subject to Him and are to live unto Him: Acts 20;28; 1 Cor.6:19,20; Rom.6:22; 2 Cor. 5:15; Rom.14:7-9

His redemption is also His purchase of us for by one act- His death, the shedding of His blood for us- He redeemed and purchased us to Himself. Therefore, we know that He purchased us to Himself out of love- Eph. 5:2, 25-27; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; Tit. 3:4.

He purchased us to Himself so that we could become sons and daughters of God and therefore heirs of God and joint-heirs with Him, having eternal life and manifesting the excellencies of God: 1 Pet.2:9; Eph.1:5,6; John 3:16

Therefore, in the realization of the objects of His purchase of us, it can be said that we are serving Him. God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. That is, by fulfilling the purpose for which He has purchased us we are serving Him.

The beautiful thing about this is that it is God Himself who fulfills or accomplishes the very purpose for which He has purchased us: Rom.9:16; Phil.2:13; Eph.2:8; Jude 1:24,25. All that He asks of us on our part is that we believe Him- John 3:16.  

Inasmuch then as the purpose for which we have been purchased/redeemed by God is fulfilled or accomplished by God Himself then it can be said that believing in Him is submitting to Him! Our faith in God then is our submission to Him!

As such then, walking in holiness is simply a function of believing God for as we yield ourselves to God by believing in Him He works in us to fulfill the objects of His purchase thereby separating us (which is essentially what holiness is). That is, by fulfilling the objects of His purchase of us He essentially separates us from the rest of the whole world (that is, He makes us holy).

This faith of God of which we speak is a continuous constant thing. We must continue to believe in Him that He can do those things which He has promised to do until we see it! As such, it is called walking (present tense continuous) by faith.

Walking by faith involves the hearing of faith which involves praying in the Spirit (which includes praying in tongues), confessing the truth of God’s word, singing and giving thanks, and listening to the word of God.

Summarily then, being a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ means that we are exclusively owned and possessed by a loving God free from sin, sickness, fear, the curse of the Law, death, etc. and subject to His awesome,  amazing will for our lives- sons, possessing eternal life- His very life- and displaying His excellencies.  In simple terms, it means that we are believers!

Thus, by firstly introducing himself as a slave of Jesus Christ, Paul was simply letting his readers (with whom he had no previous contact) know that he was a believer just like them; that he was someone who deeply understood the love of God and knew that he completely belonged to the Lord and therefore neither his life nor this present epistle were inspired by any other interest or consideration save complete obedience and service to the Lord.

Finally, I pray that you were blessed reading this and I would love to hear from you so let me know your thoughts, comments, and questions reading this by using the comments box below.

If you were blessed reading this then share it with a friend, colleague or fellow believer.

Happy New Year!


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