Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God - Romans 1:1
Those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ
have often chosen to wear
what others would consider as derogatory labels with pride, often because they indicate a teaching that was espoused by Jesus or the apostles after him. Apart from the aforementioned sheep
, one of the other terms that is oft used in the epistle
s by Paul is slave or more literally "bond-servant."
Paul in using this phrase is presenting the picture that was rare in his day, but not unheard of. Slavery during this period included a group of people who came under bondage in an attempt to pay a debt that was owed. Once the debt was paid or forgiven, the slave or servant was allowed to resume his or her life as a free person. But, occasionally, something extraordinary would occur. On a rare occasion, the slave would choose to voluntarily give up his freedom and serve the rest of his days as a slave, usually because he found life under his master was much better than a life of freedom, due to the goodness of his master. Such a servant would be marked physically, sometimes with the piercing of an ear, to show that he was a voluntary slave.
Paul equates this situation with that of the Christian. Having found a God in whom he believes and believing that obedience to this God is better than a life of freedom, the Christian voluntarily gives up his freedom and pledges his life as a servant to this God, effectively saying that the fear of the LORD is the end of freedom.