The Book of Romans
Paul identifies himself to the Church located in Rome as a servant, an apostle, and one separated unto the gospel. He declared that he was called to proclaim both to the Jew and the Gentile the gospel message promised in the Old Testament that focused on the two natures of Jesus Christ and was proved by his incarnation and resurrection.
Paul’s calling was the direct result of God’s sovereign plan and intervention into Paul’s life. Based on attitude and action of his pre-salvation life, Paul would be considered the most unlikely candidate for salvation and yet God’s sovereignty saved him on the Road to Damascus.
The lesson that can be learned from Paul’s credentials concerns God’s sovereignty in the believers calling and life. God is still intervening in the life of depraved sinners who are unable to save themselves.
I. A Servant of Jesus Christ
- Paul calls himself a servant or bondservant. The Greek word Paul used for servant also has reference to a salve. In the Roman Empire, a slave was looked on as a piece of property, not a person. Unlike a slave that was bought for a price, received no wages, and could not quit, Paul being set free from the bondage of sin, accepted the position of a servant willingly. The Lord Jesus Christ loved us and gave Himself for us; He never makes us His slaves. You must come voluntarily to Christ. He will never force you to be a servant.
- Jesus Christ took on the form of a servant. Philippians 2:5-8, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The servant of Jesus Christ is bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
- Paul volunteered to make himself a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Acts 9:3-6, And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. Unlike the forced slavery well known in the Roman Empire, Paul willingly became a servant of Jesus Christ.
II. Called to be an Apostle
- By calling himself an apostle, Paul placed himself on the same level of the twelve apostles and claimed authority from God for his work. Paul was one who was sent by authority with a commission. It was not Paul’s decision to become an apostle but God’s. Paul willingly made himself a bondservant and God made him an apostle and a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- In contrast there are to many men in the ministry today who God has not called, God ordained Paul’s calling. I Corinthians 9:16, For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! God calls His servants to ministry. Paul was chosen by God to declare the gospel. He was a witness of the resurrected Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:3-10, For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
III. Separated unto the Gospel
- Paul was separated unto something not from something. A person separated unto Christ, will have a life that draws people to Christ.
- Gospel means “the good news.” It is the message that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. He is able to save all who will trust in Him. 1 Corinthians 15:1, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
- The gospel originated with God, it was not invented by humans. The gospel is not a new message because it was promised in the Old Testament. Genesis 3:15, And 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. God’s plan of salvation was promised by the prophets, though they did not fully understand all that they were preaching and writing. 1 Peter 1:10, Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
- Jesus Christ is the center of the gospel message. Paul identified Jesus as a man and the Son of God. Christ was born of a virgin into the family of David, which gave Him the right to David’s throne. Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. He died for the sins of the world and then He was raised from the dead. It is this miraculous event of substitutionary death and victorious resurrection that constitutes the gospel.
- Paul’s ministry sought to bring all the nations to obey Jesus. Jesus calls sinners to salvation. God takes the initiative in saving sinners. Believers are called saints because of the sovereign call of God. They have forgiveness of sins and are sanctified by faith. The believer belongs to Jesus and is set apart from the world.
The lesson that can be learned from Paul’s credentials concerns God’s sovereignty in the believer’s calling and life. God is still intervening in the life of depraved sinners who are unable to save themselves. The Lord Jesus Christ loved us and gave Himself for us; He never makes us His slaves. You must come voluntarily to Christ. Christ will never force you to be a servant. When the believer is willing to make himself a bondservant, God has a place of service so that they can be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the center of the gospel message. Jesus calls sinners to salvation. God takes the initiative in saving sinners. Believers are called saints because they trusted in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A saint is not one who has been exalted; a saint is one who exalts Jesus Christ. It is not ones character that makes him a saint, but his faith in Jesus Christ. II Thessalonians 2:13-16, But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. What are your credentials?
Created and Researched by Pastor Dennis Baker
Zion Baptist Church
3485 New Baumgartner Rd. - St. Louis, MO 63129 - Phone: 314-846-1867