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BONDSERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST

“James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings” (James 1:1, NKJV).


“The ox knows its owner, And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider” (Isaiah 1:3).


It can be said with confidence that no other book in the New Testament so closely follows the teachings of Christ, especially the Sermon on the Mount, as the book of James. James could be called a commentary on what Jesus taught. In his commentary, Coffman cataloged many parallel teachings and statements in his introduction, which is well worth reading. He also catalogues several parallels with the letters Paul wrote. In this sense, it could be said that James is the MOST Christian since it follows Christ’s teachings more closely than any other book.


In the first line, James uses this term to describe his relationship to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: bondservant. Of the modern translations, only the Holman Christian Standard Bible uses the word slave. Most say, servant. The word here is doulos, which means slave. Someone who belongs to another. The term is flexible. It did not necessarily include things like brutality and cruel treatment. One might even voluntarily remain a doulos to a good master when freedom was available. Paul, Timothy, Peter, Jude, and

Epaphras are all called the same.


James knew Who his Master was. Do we?


Hear now the thunder of God’s voice to Isaiah: The ox knows its owner, And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.


The world and secular society do not know; they don’t consider. They view themselves as their own masters. But Jesus said that sin was their master (John 8:34). Paul said that to

whom you present yourselves to obey, you are that one’s slave (Romans 6:16).


So, who is your Master today?


You are called by Jesus to choose Him as master, not to choose just a teacher, not to choose an association with a certain person or group of people, not to choose an honorable set of morals.


You are called to choose a master. To bend the knee before someone and declare that they are the ruler and you are subject; to bow before someone and declare that, be it smooth seas or terrible storms, be it in the pleasant valleys or the harshest of deserts, Your will be done!


Who is your Master?


To a people about to suffer, and probably suffering already, James begins to write and says I am a doulos of God and Christ; a servant of the Creator God, slave to a crucified and risen Lord. Born into service to Him Who loved me and saved me with his blood. Fierce trials may come, and temptations may press sore; I may be attacked and vilified and chased into catacombs or thrown into an arena, but I will have My Master’s glory and the honor that comes from God in this life and in the next! He shall preserve me, for He is able to save to the uttermost. And when He comes in His glory with His angels with Him, I shall be found that good and faithful servant who waited with my lamp all trimmed and bright.


James knew who His Master was. Do you?


If we are in Christ, then we are His bondservants. Let us serve Him with joy, faithfulness, love, and perseverance. No greater privilege could we be given than to be His bondservant; no greater Master could we serve.


—John Ostic



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