Thursday, May 8, 2014

Romans 1:1–7

1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; 7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Vs. 1 The Apostle Paul beings his letter to the Romans by declaring to us three different things about himself. The first is that he is a bondservant of Jesus Christ. Not just a "follower", (that is someone who thinks "following" Jesus would be a nice thing to do; which one may indeed start of doing; for everyone has to start their faith journey somewhere. But if that is all Jesus is to them, and remains to them, a nice teacher etc. one will not remain with Him. For unless ones need for the Lord Jesus Christ becomes real and paramount to them, one cannot remain with Him, consider John 6:53-66; Rev 3:16). And so instead of that Paul says that he is a bondservant of Jesus Christ. In other words Paul lays no claims to himself or his life. All that he does begins and ends with Jesus Christ. In other words Paul has surrendered himself completely to Jesus Christ and His Will for his life. That is what it means to be a bondservant of Jesus Christ, having absolutely no rights or claims to one's own life. It is then to be completely surrounded to the Lordship of Christ.

Next Paul say's of himself that he is called to be an apostle. Now everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, and thus is born-again by His Holy Spirit, is also called by God to be something for Jesus Christ (vs. 7). That is why we are given Spirit gifts, to both define our roles within the Body of Christ, as well as Spirit equipped us to fulfill those duties and serve Jesus Christ and the body of Christ in that capacity. Though Paul had multiple Spirit gifts, and did various kinds of work for Jesus Christ, (i.e. preaching, teaching, evangelism etc.) and had various kinds of Spirit outworking's take place through his life (miracles, healings, tongues speaking and most important prophecy; Acts 14:3; 2 Cor. 2:12 etc.). Paul's calling was to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. That is first and foremost to be a minister to, and a witness of, the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 22:15; 26:12-18), which then brought about all of his other Spirit directed activities in His service of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which also meant serving the Body of Christ through his Spirit gifts. And that is why Paul says of himself that he is separated to the gospel of God, because it was God who separated Paul to His Son Jesus Christ, even from the womb, for His purposes (consider Gal 1:15). And so when God's call on Paul's life became absolutely clear to him, with his conversion on the Damascus road, he became separated to the work of the Gospel, just as the Holy Spirit also directed others about him (consider Acts 9:13-16; 13:1-3, vs. 2; 22:12-21). Thus Paul's declaration of himself as an Apostle of Jesus Christ is not something he appointed himself too. As if he choose this for himself, as is the manner of the false apostles who love to have the preeminence and or the "prestige", while avoiding any of the hardships, tribulations, and or persecutions, that every true apostle of Christ faces and embraces as His bondservant, set apart for His service and His peoples well being. No Paul knew from the beginning the many things that he would suffer for Jesus Christ's Name's sake (Acts 9:16). And yet knowing these things did not deter him from diligently obeying the Lord who called him. Because he knew the Lord Jesus Christ was far greater than the overwhelming opposition that he would daily face, and it would be the Lord Jesus Christ who would sustain Him, regardless of the people or circumstances, both inside and out, which opposed him, or would seek to harm him. And so Paul gladly says of himself that he is separated to the gospel of God. Not a church denomination and it's founders name, decrees, traditions, or "theology"; not a spiritual office, gift, or exercise; not even a social cause or movement. But only separated to the gospel of God as declared to us in the Holy Scriptures. Separated to its declaration to the ends of the earth, for the obedience of all nations, to the faith In Christ Jesus.

Vs. 2-4 Now Paul says of the gospel of God that it was God who promised it to us before through His prophets, in the Holy Scriptures (vs. 2). A Promise that concerns His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh (vs. 3). Which means from the descendants of David, God who promised that David would not lack to have a Man sit on His throne forever (Acts 2:29-36), brought forth His Son into the world, to fulfill His Word about His Son and the salvation that He would bring to one and to all who believe in Him. And so God in the fullness of time fulfilled His promise concerning the seed of David and brought forth the Incarnated Son of God, through the virgin Marry, who according to the Word of God gave birth to Him. Thus with the Lord Jesus Christ having become flesh, God began to fulfill His Messianic promises concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who according to the Scriptures had to first live faultless before Him as a Man, then to make the required atonement for all our sins redemption, Jesus suffered crucifixion death on the cross, before He was buried in the stone tomb. Then three days later He rose from the dead to take back from the devil his power over death, and thus release people from their fear of it (Heb 2:14-15). Finally in the fulfillment of God's plans and purposes Jesus ascended back to God the Father in heaven, where He is now seated at the right hand of God, waiting till all of His enemies are made His footstool. And so because of the self-evident proof of this, both of Jesus Christ's Supernatural birth, sinless life, crucifixion death, and resurrection from the dead, and ascension back to the God the Father in heaven. We now eagerly await on His return to redeem His Bride the church and reign over us all. And so the Lord Jesus Christ is here declared "to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." vs. 4 For only the Son of God has power over sin, Satan, and death, and this He does by the Spirit of holiness, that is by His Holy Spirit which the Lord Jesus Christ raised Himself from the dead (John 10:17-18). And through which He will likewise raise up us all who believe in Him to everlasting life with Himself at the last Day (John 6:39-40, 44, 54, 11:25-26). Thus the Gospel is not just the Word of God to us. It is the Power of God in us, through us, and for us, for our eternal redemption and salvation from sin and death, declared and manifested through the Son of God the Lord Jesus Christ, via the Spirit of Holiness, for everyone who believes in Him.

Vs. 5-7 Having declared the power and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of Holiness, the Apostle Paul now turns his focus towards the grace given to us all who believe in Him, a grace from God which comes only through Him (Acts 4:12); as well as our responsibility towards Him. First up is God's grace, something the Apostle Paul received for himself by faith his in the Lord Jesus Christ's Person. And thus having received God's eternal pardon for all his sins and transgressions, via Christ's crucifixion death on the cross. Paul likewise received God's calling for his new life; that is, "apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His Name." vs. 5
Therefore first one must enter the Lord Jesus Christ's rest (Matt 11:28-30), before they enter His service (Heb 4). That is first they have to receive His salvation by repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ's Person. Which in the Apostle Paul's case meant not only repenting of his own sins, but also ceasing from all his own attempts to save himself through his own works and efforts (Eph. 2:8-9). For as the Apostle Paul reveals about himself in the New Testament, he once lived as the strictest of Pharisees, thinking to attain too a right standing with God through his own zealous religious observances and self efforts, going so far in his misguided zeal for God to even persecuting the church of God. And so not until the Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself to then Saul, did Saul see the incredible error of his ways (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-31 also consider Phil 3:1-11, vs. 7-9). And so with Saul's repentance and faith, Jesus immediately began to unfold His plans for him, which began with Saul's baptism by the devout Ananias, before Saul entered Christ's service as His disciple. But not just as a disciple, but now His apostle, whom Christ chose to be His witness of His resurrection, and preacher of His Person, to both Jews and Gentiles. So that all peoples, everywhere, whether Jews or Gentiles can be made obedient to the faith, and thus be given a chance to receive life everlasting through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ's Person. As the Apostle himself declared to King Agrippa, when recalling his own salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ to him (see Acts 26:1-23). Now Paul in making his opening address here to the Christians in Rome, not only says of himself that he was called by Christ, but they also were called by Jesus Christ to be His saints (vs. 6-7). Thus God's saints are not people that become "canonized" after their death. God's saints are His living people here and now, who live because Christ has brought us all who believe in Him to life and thus united us with Himself by His Holy Spirit. And so we are called saints, not just as some sort of title bestowed on us, rather we are called saints because that is what God who loved us, and called us in Christ Jesus to be, His holy people. Thus the Apostle Paul says to not only the Christians at Rome to whom he wrote this epistle, but to all Christians everywhere, for we are all beloved of God, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." vs. 7
And so the Apostle Paul in his genuine love and concern for God's people, bestows God's blessing on all God's people, both God's grace and God's peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Scripture Citations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982



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