Exodus 21:2-6 – If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free. But if the servant declares, "I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free," then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life. (NIV)
In Old Testament times, the servant who was loved by his master and who loved his master in turn was marked for life. Wherever he appeared, he was known, by the mark of the awl, to be bonded by love forever to his master, his wife, and his children. He was known as a bondservant.
More than a thousand years after the Old Testament bondservant law was first written, the apostle Paul, in his letters to the Romans, to the Philippians, and to Titus, introduces himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ or of God. For example, "Paul, a bondservant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God …" (Romans 1:1 NKJV).
Paul considered his relationship of love with his Master, Jesus Christ, to be as permanent as the bondservant's was with his master. Paul wrote, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39 NIV).
The same voluntary and permanent love relationship continues today between Christians and their Master, Jesus Christ. And just as the Hebrew bondservant was given a permanent mark to seal the relationship with his master, so Christians are given a mark, a mark that they bear for life: the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Because we bear the mark of Christ's Holy Spirit, those who know us recognize us as persons attached to Jesus Christ for life. As such, we are challenged to allow God's love — the fruit of Holy Spirit — to flow through us to all those we encounter.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for giving us the privilege of counting ourselves as servants of Jesus Christ, bonded to Him by Your Spirit in a love relationship for life. Please remove from us any obstacles to the flow of Your love. Amen.
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