In the first few verses of Romans 1, the apostle Paul identifies himself as the bond-servant of the Jesus Christ our Lord. The distance between the two titles could not be more profound. The Greek word for bond-servant is the word doulos, which means slave. The Greek word for Lord is the word kurios, which means master or undisputed possessor.
Paul never lost sight of this relationship between Jesus and himself. He owed everything to Jesus. He lived in constant wonder of the grace that God had extended towards him, a persecutor of the faith, a violent aggressor towards all who claimed faith in Jesus Christ. He would never forget the day, while journeying to Damascus, that God’s grace got the best of him.
As a result, Paul was never his own again, he died with Christ that day on the Damascus Road, it was now Christ who lived in him (Galatians 2:20). From that day, forth, Paul’s life was controlled by the love of Christ (II Corinthians 5:14.).
One temptation, to which I believe many Christians succumb, is to think that we are not made of the same stuff that men like Paul and Peter and James and John were made of. Somehow, they and their experiences are elevated to a plane not achievable by “normal Christians” like you and me. We will never find them, in all their writings, hinting to this. Peter tells us that you and I have been given, by the same Lord, “everything that pertains to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3). Paul tells us that, like him, we have been blessed, in Christ, with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3).
In calling us to offer up our lives as living sacrifices unto our Lord, living to do His will above our own, Pastor Timothy Keller, of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, tells of a time when his walk with Christ was challenged by the two following questions.
- Are you willing to obey anything the Bible clearly says to do, whether you like it or not?
- Are you willing to trust God in anything that He sends into your life, whether you understand it or not?
This is the posture of a bond-slave before his Lord and master. We too, who have been redeemed by Christ, are now the doulos who bow, not only their knees but their very lives to the one who is kurios.
Keller goes on to say in his book Hidden Christmas, “If you can’t answer these two questions in the affirmative, you may believe in Jesus in some general way, but you have never yet said to Him, ‘I am the Lord’s servant; may it be done to me according to your will.”
The following Covenant Prayer that was written by John Wesley, is a prayer of a servant’s surrender to the Lordship Jesus.