Three Distinctive Traits of a Christian–Part Three

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…” (James 1:1).

It is often true that “Imitation is the highest form of flattery”. However, when it comes to spiritual matters, the phony is never an acceptable substitute for the genuine.

With the very first words James wrote with his quill at the outset of his epistle, three distinctive traits are implicitly rooted therein. Each significant characteristic deserves a careful examination.

A Christian is someone who esteems the spiritual above everything else.

A Christian is someone who recognizes and responds to the uniqueness of Jesus. (See two previous posts.)

A Christian is someone who surrenders fully and willingly to God and Jesus.

The Greek word doulos (“bond-servant”) was used in the first century to identify that class of people who were owned so completely by another they had no legal rights and could be used and disposed of in whatever way their owner/master may wish.

Usually, this state of servitude was forced upon individuals because of warfare, arrest, debt, or birth. However, Exodus 21:5-6 envisions a scenario in which slavery was a voluntary choice.

In the case of James and his fellow Christians, they were bond-servants of God and the Lord Jesus Christ by choice. They had willingly opted to become slaves of righteousness. Though they had been slaves of sin—God be thanked—they had been delivered from their shackles by obeying the gospel from the heart (Romans 6:17).

As a voluntary bond-slave, a Christian seeks to carry out the Lord’s will as thoroughly as possible, doing nothing more or less, and prioritizing it above everything else.

Every one of the five men—Paul, James, Peter, Jude, and John—who wrote the New Testament epistles were bond-servants (Titus 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1; Revelation 1:1). Being a bond-servant is the only “position” Christianity has.

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Author: jchowning

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