CCLXVII. Servants of God.

1 PET. ii. 16. “As the servants of God.”

THE title servant or slave of God does not appear for the
first time in the New Testament. God Himself speaks of
Abraham, of Moses, of Caleb, Job, Isaiah, and Zerubbabel
as “My servants.” The apostles, when addressing the
Church, habitually assume this designation. The biblical
idea of the servant of God is drawn from the life of the
bona fide slave, who was his master’s property.
I. The right of property which God has over all men, as
based upon creation. The justification of the idea of life
which the phrase implies is the existence of God. Each of
us exists simply because He, in His free love, so willed it;
and if this be so, who does not see that it means God’s
right to the service of each of His rational creatures?
II. In the case of Christians this right is reinforced by
a second right based upon redemption.
When we look to the incarnation and the cross, and
reflect with the apostles that we are not our own, but are
bought with a price, we must exclaim, “O Lord, I am Thy
servant.”
God has made man to know and serve Himself. Our
human nature, when cross-questioned, does point upward,
notwithstanding its ancient error.
III. The deliberate purpose to serve God throughout
life, in things great and small, is the great characteristic of
a religious man. The servant of God need not be priest
or prophet He may be statesman, or soldier, or man of
letters. The most prosaic occupations, the most common-
place characters, become ennobled by the presence, the
empire of this great motive, which puts the man who obeys
it into harmony with the true law of the universe. When
God’s will is seen in surrounding circumstances, when His
declared will governs conduct and inclination, then you
have a power which makes men, families, nations, Churches,
strong.
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.

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