The word servant has many meanings. I hope we can
explore some of these meanings. As a guide I would like to
use the opening of James for our study.
"James,a servant of God and of the Lord
The word used by James here is "doulos" . Doulos has
several meanings and its use varies amoung these meanings
in scripture. What we will be doing here is trying to sort
out these different uses.
The first and general meaning of doulos is that of a
slave. It is generally implied that a slave is one who by
some means has had their will given over to another. In the
case of man's fall, this word was used to describe man's
condition, implying that he had lost his freedom and will
to the forces of sin and was totally dominated by these
It should be noted that Jesus, by His saving work and
sacrifice rescued man form this enslavement. But the
resulting sonship does not mean absolute autonomy, but one
of a new relationship with God and the new service performed
The phrase "doulos Christou" has a special meaning and
position when used as a designation as in James. It denotes
both an absolute freedom on one part and an absolute
commitment on the other. There can be no doubt of the
absolute freedom, as it was stated by Jesus.
"If the Son, therefore shall make you free
you shall be free indeed."
One the other half of the statement is one of commitment to
Jesus as stated by Paul
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by
the mercies of God, that ye present your
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable
unto God, which is your reasonable service."
We are now ready to consider the use of this word in
James opening remarks to his Epistile. In choosing this
word he sought to denote the commitment he held toward
Jesus, to that of the lowest from of a slave. He had
freedom beyond his wildest dreams yet he surrendered it to
the one that set him free. The amount of this commitment,
denoted by this word slave is what is important.
When we think of an slave we think of a number of
"absolutes" which govern a slaves very life and existence.
Let us list these and then consider them one at a time
1. Absolute Obedience
2. Absolute Humility
3. Absolute Loyalty
The first was that of obedience. A slave knew no law
but that of his master. More often than not, he knew no
rights, and lastly he was not permitted to question his
master's decisions. Is this what James was implying???
Somewhat, but there is a difference. The normal slave did
these things out of a fear of punishment and mistreatment
James gave absolute obedience,surrendered his rights and
followed without question because of his love for the master
He implied every one of these requirements, but to be done
out of love, not out of an obligation of fear.
The second was that of humility. A slave above all
things had to keep his place. He was a slave and was requir-
ed to act as one. The difference with James was that he lost
himself in service to his master. His only concern was to
be faithful and pleasing to his master. His thoughts were
not of his own position but only that of the one that his
master wanted for him
The third was that of loyalty. A slave was required to
hold or even swear a absolute Loyalty to his master. James
was loyal to Jesus because of his love for his Lord and God.
It was a uncomplaining loyalty that is derived from a heart
filled with love for the one to whom it is directed
We now can add one more absolute that applies to this type
of slave of the Lord, which James was. Absolute Glory. James
through his faith,obedience,humility,and Loyalty earned a
place beside the saints of old. Beside Abraham, Moses, and
What does our relationship with Jesus mean to us?.
James is exhorting us to the very same, absolute obedience
absolute humility, and absolute loyalty toward Jesus.
Does God pat us on the back an say go, live like this? No!
He provides the Holy Spirit for power and direction. He
places the love of Jesus in our hearts, and He looks over
us as a loving Father. We have been given a perfect example
in our Lord Jesus Christ to follow. What is our position ?
One of surrender as James's or one of rebellion and
disobedience. The choice is ours, but to call oneself a
Christian, without the traits that James has shown us, is
to misrepresent ourselves both to the World and to our own
< Author unknown >