Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ.

II Peter 1:1

Peter opens this second letter identifying himself initially as a “bondservant.” By use of this title he humbly and gratefully places himself in a position of submission, duty, and obedience. Moses, Joshua, David, Paul, James and Jude also are designated this title. (Of course, the greatest servant of all is Jesus Himself, see Matt. 20:28.) Quite surprising as the word used (doulos) is literally “slave.” The term would be demeaning socially yet spiritually honorable. It signified one who was duty-bound to obey the master, no matter the cost. Four points to ponder–

(i) To call the Christian the “doulos” of God means that he is possessed by God. In New Testament times, a master possessed his slaves in the same sense as he possessed tools. A servant can change his master, but a slave could not. The Christian belongs to God.

(ii) The “doulos” is always as the absolute disposal of God. In these times the master could do what he liked with his slave. His slave was of no great difference than the inanimate possessions of the master. The master had the power of life and death over his slave. Simply stated the Christian belongs to God; for God to send where He will and do what He wishes. The Christian has no rights of his own, for all his rights are surrendered to God.

(iii) Being called a Christian “doulos” indicates the believer owes unwavering and unquestioning obedience to God. At this time of Peter’s letter, a master’s command was a slave’s only law. No exceptions. The Christian has but one question to ask: “Lord what will You have me to do?” The command of God is the law of the believer.

(iv) The believer who truly desires to walk with God as a “doulos” is constantly in service to God. The bondservant of old had no time of his own… not a holiday, nor union regulations, no off-hours to be guaranteed. All his time belonged to his master.

This would be terrifying to any of us– unless we know the truth about God. That truth being the pure, magnificent, sacrificial love of God for us. Consider these truths–

I John 4:16—God is love.

I John 4:19– We love Him because He first loved us.

I John 3:1– Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

John 3:16– For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Romans 5:8– God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

No wonder Peter loved being and identifying as the “doulos” of God. Maranatha!