Romans 1:1-7,  “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, 6among 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.” (NKJV)

I.  Paul’s introduction (1:1-7)

A.  Paul is a bondservant of Jesus Christ  (1:1)

A bondservant is someone who by his own desire makes himself a permanent servant to another.  Paul views himself as someone who has been bought with the blood of Jesus and is now a permanent servant of Jesus Christ.  In his introduction, this is Paul’s first description of himself.  Do we view ourselves in the same way?  When others think of us, do they think, “He/she is a servant of Jesus Christ?”

1.  called to be an Apostle

Surely we can agree that Paul’s calling was unique.  We know from the book of Acts that Paul was intent on destroying the church until on his way to Damascus to participate in more of the same he had an encounter with Jesus Himself.  God showed His love, power, grace, and mercy by pulling Paul out of the kingdom of darkness and placing him into the kingdom of light.  God used Paul as an example to both Jews and Gentile of His glory.  Paul was called to be an apostle which means messenger.  The first Apostles were given special authority. 

2.  separated to the Gospel of God

Notice that Paul was separated to the Gospel of God.  Meaning that his life revolved around the purpose of sharing the message of God’s redemptive plan for humans.  You may be familiar with a group of people in the Bible referred to as Pharisees.  The word Pharisee actually means “separated from” and was used to note that this group of people had separated themselves from the world.  They had an appearance of godliness but according to Jesus most of them were still unrepentent sinners and worse yet hypocrites who kept people from the Kingdom of God.  Before his conversion Paul was a Pharisee.  Now that Paul is separated to the Gospel of God he had no use for religious appearances; he no longer separated himself from the world but took the Gospel of God to the world.  

B.  Jesus Christ is the main point of the Scriptures (1:2-4)

Here Paul takes a few verses to teach that Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and is both human and God.  There would be no need to speak of Jesus, “according to the flesh”, if He was only human.  What would be the point?  Paul points out that in Jesus’ human lineage He was in the line of David which is important for Jesus to be the fulfiller of Messianic prophecy.  

Paul then follows up with the claim that Jesus is, “declared to be the Son of God.”  He gives two proofs for this claim.  The first is testimony of the Spirit of holiness.  Here Paul is referring to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist where the Spirit of God descended and ascended on Jesus like a dove.  The second proof is the resurrection of Jesus, for without rising from the dead Jesus does us no good.

Please see the chart of Jesus’ claims to be the theme of the Old Testament.  

C.  Jesus Christ is the source of grace (1:5-7)

D.  We are called by Jesus Christ for obedience to the faith (1:5-7)

Paul sets Jesus as his source of grace and indeed Jesus has been gracious to us.  We have been called for “obedience to the faith”, meaning that we are to agree with what God has to say about us, our sinfulness, our inability to save ourselves, our need for a Saviour, and to believe that Jesus has died for us and is risen from the dead.  

Paul is writing to the saints who are in Rome.  What are saints and where did these saints come from?  A saint is someone who is justified in God’s sight and is separated to God, so a saint is anyone who is a true believer in Jesus.  At the time Paul writes this it doesn’t seem that any Apostle has been to Rome yet.  The church was born at Pentecost after the death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven of Jesus.  People from all over the world, including Rome, came to Jerusalem to worship (Acts 2).  It is there that they heard Peter preach about Jesus and that day 3000 believed and were baptized.  In the following days even more believed.  These new believers went back to their home lands and cities (including Rome) and shared the Good News there.  The city of Rome at this point in history is a metropolis of over 1,000,000 people. As Paul writes this is in either late 57 A.D. or early 58 A.D. it has been about 25 years since Peter’s sermon in Jerusalem.  The believers in Rome have multiplied and are in multiple local churches by this point.  There are some strong believers who live in Rome and the believers have been visited and encouraged by strong believers from other cities but apparently to this point no Apostles have made it there.  Paul has a strong sense he will get there soon, and so he writes this powerful letter that in detail explains the redemptive plan of God for humans to prepare them for his face to face fellowship with them and for his preaching to the lost.  Though Paul was confident he would make it to them, if for some reason he did not this letter to the believers in Rome would set for them a firm foundation on which to build.  Surely this book is foundational for our faith as well.

Paul greets the believers in Rome with, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”Surely living in a selfish and pluralistic society the believers would need the grace and peace of God active in their lives each and every day!  Our time is not too unlike theirs…selfishness and pluralism adequately define the days in which we live.  May God supply you who are in Christ with the grace and peace needed for today.

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