Servants and Saints
Read Philippians 1:1-5 (ESV)
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
What does it mean to be a “servant of Christ Jesus”? What does it mean to be a “saint in Christ Jesus”?
If someone asked you to be their servant would you consider that an honor? Probably not. And if someone asked you to be their slave, it is even more likely that you would reject the offer. After all, a slave is viewed as a piece of property without their own individual rights. Who would willingly choose to be a slave?
Paul did. He identified both himself and Timothy as servants (or more accurately translated, slaves) of Jesus Christ. Paul had chosen to lay down his life for the advancement of the Gospel. He submitted himself completely to Christ and made Jesus his Lord.
But this is what we are all commanded to do! If we want to be saved, we need to be His slaves. We have to reject the idea that we are in charge of our own lives and submit to the authority of Jesus Christ. Romans 10:9 says that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Calling someone your Lord means calling them your master. It means that you acknowledge that they have authority over you.
It may not seem very honorable or wise to forfeit control of your life and make Jesus your Lord. But Jesus offers us this reassurance: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). Jesus promises eternal rewards to those who set aside this temporary life and dedicate themselves to His service.
Now, what if someone called you a “saint”? Would you consider that a title that you are worthy of accepting? Probably not. After all, aren’t saints super-holy spiritual people? (And usually dead ones at that?) And yet, that is what Paul calls anyone who has trusted Christ as Savior. “Saint” means “one who is set apart or sanctified.” As believers in Jesus Christ, that is what we are! We are set apart for Christ.
We didn’t do anything to deserve this honorable designation. Paul says “grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is only by the grace of God that we have been saved and it is only because of that salvation that we can be at peace with God.
It’s important to note that we are all slaves to something whether we want to be or not. We are either slaves to Christ or slaves to sin and death. But in Christ, “you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:7).
Friends, what an honor it is to be a slave to Christ! By submitting your life to Him, you are made free. You are a saint and an heir. You are a child of the King!
Lord Jesus, I submit my life to You and Your service. You are my Master. Thank You for the promise of eternal glory. I don’t deserve it, but it is an honor to belong to You. Amen.