Bond-Servant of Christ
First, let’s take a look at God’s giving of the Law in Exodus 21:
“But the slave may declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I don’t want to go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door or doorpost and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will serve his master for life.” (Exodus 21:5 NLT)
This is a slave who is choosing to remain in that position by choice, a choice made out of love and commitment instead of bondage.
Many New Testament writers, such as Paul and James, use this this terminology to introduce themselves:
“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” (Romans 1:1 NASB)
“James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…” (James 1:1 NASB)
So, what are they saying? They are identifying themselves as slaves to the Gospel and to the example of Christ, not out of bondage, but out of choice and devotion.
So, why the earring? Nothing says that Paul or James pierced their ear for this reason, but, for me, it is an outward symbol (albeit from the Old Testament) to identify myself as a bond-servant of Christ Jesus.
“Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” (Romans 6:18 NLT)