December 19

Romans 1:1-4

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,” vs. 1

In Greek the word used by Paul to describe his relationship to Jesus was “slave,” a somewhat harsher term than the “servant” many translators have chosen. He wanted his readers to know that he was completely bound to Jesus, and that he had no choice but to follow in his Way. Like the translators we too are made uncomfortable by slavery language–too many people continue to live as slaves in our world even today. It’s repugnant to think that humans would have the right to own another person. Yet Paul’s choice of words is amazingly apt in describing the relationship many of us have come to have with our Lord. Of course it’s true that in Christ we are set free to live in the image of God–but it’s also true that we are bound to live as Christ’s presence in the world. In Christ we are both slave and free! That doesn’t mean that we can’t go off and live as we please. Many do choose that path and follow their passions and desires to a multitude of ends. But the blessings that come with bondage to Christ are priceless. Not only are we set free from all the chains of guilt and pain that have imprisoned us, we are actually empowered to live in the image of Jesus and bring good news to all we encounter. It really is the best possible life!

Thought for the Day: What have I been set apart to do?

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