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, 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.” NKJV
Through the years, I have noticed and been guilty of reading the Bible from strictly a Western mentality. I have contended for years that if we truly want to understand what is being said we have to understand what it meant to those who read and heard in that day. Here in Romans Chapter 1, we find some powerful statements by the apostle Paul.
BONDSERVANT – The word is “Doulos”, which often is translated servant, but if we render it properly it means Slave. It identifies one who is the property of his master and when Paul uses it here it is not for show but for defining purpose. Those who heard his declaration understood that he was calling himself a Slave of Jesus Christ and that his life was no longer his in any way but entirely the property of the LORD Jesus. We say that but do we mean that? He was “willingly” a slave to the LORD!
Called to APOSTLESHIP – The word is “Apostolos” which signifies a messenger or envoy. He is one who has been sent on a confidential errand. Here it goes far beyond that and means an “extraordinary messenger” sent on behalf of the Master of the Universe, God Himself. The fact that Paul said he had been “called” to be an apostle signifies that he understood that He was joined to Jesus just as the Twelve had been. He was truly a messenger with authority.
SEPARATED Unto The Gospel – This is important in that Paul is not just separated “from” the world but “to” the Gospel. He has identified a specific work and a work to which he is separated. The Gospel is his life, calling, and purpose and as a SLAVE his purpose that which the LORD determines not simply his preference nor is it optional. He has chosen to be exclusively committed to the purposes of God regardless of where that might lead or what the result might be.
Paul identifies this “gospel” which is timeless in the heart of God, promised through the prophets of old, and is now coming to fruition. The commitment to the “gospel” is paramount in the mind and heart of this apostle. He has a purpose, assignment, and mission in life and later would declare, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Paul’s life and ministry are marked by his singular commitment and dedication to his calling. He refused to be dissuaded or diverted but set his heart to fulfilling the wishes of his LORD and MASTER to whom he considers himself a “willing slave.” A slave for life by virtue of his choice to be completely bound by the master’s desire.
That is an incredibly powerful message and testimony. “I have totally committed my life, will, and desire to Him. It is no longer my rights but His desire that controls my life and purpose. I must decrease but He must continually increase.” If that were the heart of each of us today, Totally, we would see a revival like we have not heretofore seen. I have not yet attained but I am, like Paul, pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of Jesus.
God bless you as you reaffirm your commitment and embark on the journey of this day!