1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 5By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 6Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: 7To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (The King James Version, 1769)
Paul is the Greek name by which Saul, of the city of Tarsus, later became known. Tarsus is located on the south east coast of modern Turkey. It was granted the status of Roman city. All born there are Roman citizens. He was born a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin and was a member of the Pharisee party. He learned the trade of tentmaker as a child. He later studied "The Law" in Jerusalem.
a servant of Jesus Christ,
If you had to give a Christian a title, that covered every possible function, it would be "Servant of Jesus Christ." This implies that Jesus is Paul's Lord. He accepted Jesus as Lord while on the road to Damascus. His original purpose was to capture believers in Jesus, who were residing in Damascus, bind them up and transport them to Jerusalem for trial. Upon seeing Jesus in a vision he accepted Jesus as his lord. The experience left Paul temporarily blind. In obedience, he went to Damascus with the new task of finding Barnabas and to learn what to do next.
called to be an apostle,
What is an apostle? A person who has spent time with Jesus. Understands the personal teachings of Jesus. Knows the old testament scriptures and how Jesus is revealed through them. Is a witness of his resurrection. Has been chosen by Jesus to be a leader in "The Great Commission." To baptize those who receive the message. To establish churches throughout the world. The bottom line is making Jesus known!
separated unto the gospel of God,
Paul affirms that his task as a servant of God is to preach the good news. Good News?
2(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
Throughout the old testament there are verses that point to the past, present and future. They are the promises of God. They are the warnings of God. They reveal the "Word of God." The first goodnews message was given in the hearing of Adam and Eve when God spoke to the serpent... Gen 3.15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. And the heel of Jesus was bruised when the nail was driven through his feet pinning them to the cross. What a sermon that would make!
3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
Though much prophecy and vision shows how God deals with man, it is very important to know when the prophecy and scripture reveal Jesus: as Lord... as Christ (Messiah)... as Son of God... and as Word of God. It is very important to understand that it is through scripture, the old testament, that Jesus is proven to be one and all of the things just listed. Jesus needs to fulfill all scripture about him. There is so much that can be revealed.
which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
One of the most important prophecies, if not the most important prophecy, is that the Messiah (Priest-King) was to be a descendant of King David. The genealogy given for Mary, in the gospel according to Luke, establishes the flesh link with David. The genealogy given is Matthew indicates that Jesus was a son of David through the connection of Joseph to David, but not according to the flesh.
4And declared to be the Son of God with power,
Another prophecy given to Moses was that a prophet would come after him that was like Moses. If someone was to come along and be "the Son of God" he would have to be able to display signs and wonders as great as or even greater than Moses. Jesus may not have signs that compare to the judgements that befell Egypt at the hands of Moses but there were so many that John the apostle wrote in John 21.25And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
according to the spirit of holiness,
This is referred in two ways:
by the resurrection from the dead:
This resurrection from the dead is the final proof that Jesus is the Son of God. One moment though, were there not others who were also risen from the dead: the grieving mother's son, the young girl and Lazarus? Their resurrection did not prove that they were Sons and a Daughter of God. Other prophets of God also raised the dead. What do all these people who were raised from the dead have in common. They eventually died once again. The body that was raised was still the same corruptible flesh they had before.
What about the resurrection of Jesus? The nature of the body that was sewn in the tomb was not the nature of the body that was risen. The human body grows and ages. It can be damaged and destroyed. Not so the body that God raised from the grave. The mortal has put on immortality. Paul describes our current body as a seed. It is risen a whole new creature. The body of Jesus is no longer subject to death. Our resurrected bodies will also be of that nature. It is this glorious body that proves that Jesus is the Son of God. This glorious body which was seen by individuals and up to 500 people at one time.
5By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
That "we" in the statement can refer to Paul in the royal sense but likely refers to those who were called to be apostles. No man can take this mantle. No man deserves this mantle. No man can earn this mantle. It is simply through the grace of God that anyone becomes an apostle. In fact it is only through grace that anyone can become a born again Christian.
Obedience to the faith? What was the message given throughout history in the scriptures? It is faith in God. The faith of Abraham and Moses and all who believed God. They all had glimpses of God's plan and purposes. They all heard of Jesus though not by that name. The Servant, The Branch, a Priest, a Saviour or simply a son who would get a nail through his heal. This message, this gospel was to be carried by the apostles to the whole world, all nations. The church has this as its main mission... then the end will come!
6Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
It is upon us that the good news is finally revealed in its fulness. This gospel of the kingdom. Each of us has been lead by the Spirit of God, prepared by the Spirit of God and have been called into his kingdom. We may have differing gifts and administrations from one another but all of us are called into ministry in one form or another. We share in the continuing work of Paul.
7To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
This letter/epistle was sent to the Romans. It can certainly be used for our instruction.
And if you can receive it, this blessing...
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Webite administrator: Joseph A Raymond
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada