Romans 1:1 – Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God
I’m beginning a study of Romans and this as far as I get today. How does Paul, the writer describe himself here? What does he mean by servant, apostle or the gospel? Here’s my research and what it means to me.
The gospel according to Eaton’s Bible Dictionary is “the rendering of the Greek _evangelion_, i.e., ‘good message’ ” (biblegateway.com). Paul says he is set apart for the good message of God. What is the good message of God? Completing the thought, Paul clarifies “the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son …” The good message concerns his Son. Who is the Son of God? Paul claims by the end of this same sentence “Jesus Christ our Lord” to be this Son (Romans 1: 1-4). What makes the message of Jesus Christ a good message? What about this Jesus Christ inspired an educated man like Paul to give his life over to him as his servant (verse 1 above)?
Romans 1:5 – Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.
Paul states briefly here what Christ Jesus means to him and why. In verse 1 above, Paul describes himself as a servant of Christ Jesus. In verse 4, he calls Jesus Lord. In verse 5 above, Paul explains why he thinks so highly of Jesus. He received grace and purpose (apostleship) from his encounter with Jesus Christ.
We don’t even need to go into Paul’s story to understand what receiving grace and purpose means for him. We just need to look to our own life to understand what that would mean for us. At least, in my own life, I can see how special that is. I am assuming I’m not that different from you, the reader.
In my life, I have a tendency to recall and glory in the many things I’ve done that is good. Honestly, without being too boastful, there are many things I’ve done that are good. I can also tell you about many things that I have done that are selfish, mean and hurtful – sometimes unintenti0nally, sometimes mindlessly and sometimes intentionally. If I had to weigh all actions together, even some of the good was done selfishly. I think that’s normal, human behavior. But does normal, human behavior deserve grace, especially from the one’s I’ve wronged or hurt?
John 3:17 – For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
This is something I think is forgotten by many judgmental Christians today who appear to condemn those who they label as “sinners.” How I described myself above as normal, human behavior is to me the truer definition of “sinner.” Normal, human behavior is still “short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Yet, the good message of God is that He sent his Son, not to condemn, but to graciously forgive and provide meaning for my life is why Paul is so grateful that he chose to be Christ Jesus’ servant. I’m beginning to see Paul’s point of view.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 1:6 – And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
How about you? Are you beginning to see why Paul or anyone else, including you, would be willing to give your life completely to God as a servant of Christ Jesus?
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