The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 181 of 207
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#5.  Symbols of Service:
Bondservant, builder and burden-bearer.
pp. 161 - 163
The glorious doctrine of liberty which is characteristic of the ministry of the apostle
Paul must ever be ours to maintain against all odds. It is interesting, however, to notice
that, while this liberty is sounded out with clarion notes in the epistle to the Galatians, at
the close of the epistle the apostle shows that he, the champion of freedom, who stood
alone before the Council at Jerusalem against those who would bring the believer into
bondage, was at heart the bondslave of Jesus Christ: "I bear in my body the marks
(stigmata, brand marks of a slave) of the Lord Jesus" (Gal. 6: 17). Again, in Gal. 5: 13:
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to
the flesh, but by love serve one another." Redemption, which sets us free, binds us
for ever to the Lord:  "Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price"
(I Cor. 6: 19, 20).
The reader should remember that in the following passages the word "servant" in the
A.V. is the translation of doulos, meaning, literally, "a slave":--
"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ" (Rom. 1: 1).
"Ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake" (II Cor. 4: 5).
"If I pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Gal. 1: 10).
"He took upon Him the form of a servant" (Phil. 2: 7).
"The servant of the Lord must not strive" (II Tim. 2: 24).
Peter, James and Jude, equally with Paul, rejoice to call themselves "the bondslaves of
Jesus Christ" (James 1: 1; II Pet. 1: 1; Jude 1). In the following passages in the A.V. the
word translated "to serve" is, in the original, douleuo, "to serve as a slave":--
"That we should serve in newness of spirit" (Rom. 7: 6).
"Fervent in spirit; serving the Lord" (Rom. 12: 11).
"Use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal. 5: 13).
"Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (I Thess. 1: 9).
The first occurrence of doulos in the N.T. is in Matt. 8: 9, and the words of the
centurion give us a good idea of what the service of the Lord's bondmen involves:--
"For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man,
Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and
he doeth it."
The words of Mary might well be the motto for all who would serve thus:
"Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it."