"For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant" (I Corinthians 7:22).
Most of us today, rejoicing in our freedoms (of religion, of press, of speech, etc.), tend to forget that these had been purchased for us at great cost. Many of the first Christians, in fact, were actually slaves in the great Roman Empire. The word "servant," as used in the above text, is translated from the Greek doulos, the proper meaning of which is "bondservant," or "slave."
The early Israelites also were slaves for hundreds of years before God empowered Moses to lead them out of Egypt. Later, many were again carried into captivity by the armies of Assyria and Babylon and eventually Rome, continuing to suffer virtual enslavement for many years.
The American colonists were never real slaves, of course, but they often considered themselves as essentially in bondage to the king of England, and their writers frequently compared the American Revolution to the Israelites gaining their freedom from Egypt. An even more apt comparison, however, would have been the setting of the slaves free in the Civil War.
The most appropriate analogy of all, however, applies when a man or woman, having been under control by lifelong sin is finally set free in Christ, who came to "deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:15).
Yet those early believers were never encouraged by Paul to fight for their physical freedom (which would come in good time) but rather to serve their masters "With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men" (Ephesians 6:7). And he would tell us today not to boast in our own freedom, but to be thankful and to consider ourselves as bondservants to our own Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. HMM