Romans Chapter 1  

Separated unto the gospel..

Chapter 1, Verses 1-12

Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.

The letters that the Apostle Paul wrote are arranged much like a letter that would be written by most people today.  They begin with who is writing and by what authority they are writing.  Next, they tell us whom the letter is addressing.  Subsequently you have the body of the letter.  Finally, you have the close of the letter.

Paul is the one that wrote the letter to the Church at Rome.  It is important that we know who wrote the letter for by knowing the person who wrote the letter we can relate to his background and experience.  The name, Paul, was his Roman name and meant "small."  His Hebrew name was Saul, which meant great.  At first, he was known as Saul and was considered great in the eyes of the Jews religious leaders.  However, after God struck him down on the road to Damascus, he become known as Paul and he thus became "small" in his own eyes.  Similarly, we should not seek for greatness for ourselves, but be content to be small in order that we might magnify our great God.

Bond Servant for the Lord

Paul was a servant of Jesus Christ.  The word, "servant," comes from the Greek word "doulos" meaning bond slave.  Thus, Paul was declaring himself a bond-slave of Jesus Christ.  Paul taught us elsewhere that we are not our own, that we are bought with a price, and that price is the precious blood of Christ.  Thus, we should view ourselves as being the love bought slaves of Christ and should dedicate ourselves to His service. 

Paul also declared that he was called to be an apostle.  Obviously, Paul did not call himself to be an apostle.  In 1 Corinthians Paul declares this calling to be from God: 1 Cor 1:1 "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God."  A minister of the gospel is called of God to be a minister of the gospel.  No man takes this honor upon himself although many think they can, but they are not true ministers of God.  The word, "apostle," means "one sent forth."  God is the one who sends forth his ministers.  The church does not send forth ministers, but the sending forth of ministers is reserved by God to himself.

The calling to be a minister involves a separation.  When one is called to be a minister God separates him to that ministry.  Paul declared himself to be separated by God unto the gospel of God.  If we are separated to a work, then we should be busy about that work and so Paul was busy about the work that God had separated him unto.

In this first verse of the letter to the Romans, Paul, thus identified who was writing the letter and the authority by which he was writing the letter.  It is good that we know that Paul was not writing by his own authority, but rather that he was writing the letter by God's authority.

v. 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Paul affirms that this gospel that he was writing about and of which he had preached was according to the Old Testament promises.  There are many prophets and scriptures that we could quote that identify these promises, but none show this better than Is. 40:1 "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."  In addition, this promise is associated with the phrase, "In that day," as found in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Hagai, Zechariah, and Malachi.  Yes this promised gospel of Jesus Christ was promised afore by God's prophets in the holy scriptures.

 v. 3, 4 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:  The gospel is all about the Son of God, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Each of the words used to describe Jesus has significance.  As the Son of God, he is the second person in the Godhead.  He is verily God.  The word, Jesus, means Savior.  Jesus came into the world to save his people from their sins.  He is the one and only savior of sinners.  The word, Christ, means anointed one.  There were generally two groups of people that were anointed in the Old Testament: Kings and Priests.  Christ is the anointed King of the Kingdom of God.  He is also our anointed High Priest after the order of Melchisedec who ever liveth and maketh intercession for us.  Furthermore, He is our "Lord" or master and we are thus his servants having a duty to serve him.

According to the flesh, Jesus was made of the seed of David.  God had promised David in 2 Sam. Chapter 12, that he would raise up of David's seed one to set upon the throne of David.  This king of the seed of David was to be an everlasting king in an everlasting kingdom.  In the virgin birth, Jesus was made of the seed of David.  Jesus was not made to be the Son of God with power.  He has always been the Son of God with power.  His being the Son of God far preceded his being made the seed of David.  When Jesus was resurrected from the dead by the Holy Spirit, he was declared to be the Son of God with power.  His resurrection by the Holy Spirit declared him to be what he always has been, the Son of God with power.

 v.5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:  Paul declares that he first received grace and then he received apostleship from Jesus Christ.  This is somewhat akin to Noah having found grace in the eyes of the Lord and then being instructed of God to build an ark.  Grace first precedes any action on our part.  Grace is the unmerited favor of God.  We do not deserve grace in any way.  It is something that God bestows upon us even though we are totally undeserving of it.  Paul could not have been an apostle of Jesus Christ unless Jesus had first bestowed grace upon him.  Paul recognized that he received grace and then apostleship from the Lord Jesus Christ.  These were gifts bestowed upon Paul.  Likewise, we should recognize that we have received grace and any spiritual gifts as gifts that God has bestowed upon us that we don't deserve, but it pleased Him to give them to us. 

God is a God of purpose.  He bestows grace upon us that we be his children and that we be born of the spirit of God.  Furthermore, he gives spiritual gifts with a purpose.  Paul received apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations.  This apostleship was bestowed upon Paul, not just for Paul to be obedient to the faith, but rather that through his ministry as an apostle of Jesus Christ, God's people in all nations might also be obedient to the faith that was once delivered to the saints.  Likewise, we who have been called to preach the gospel should reckon likewise, that this gift of a gospel minister is for the purpose of leading God's people to be obedient to the faith that was once delivered to the saints.

v.6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:  Before anyone can be obedient to the faith, he must first have been called of Jesus Christ.  The new or spiritual birth is a calling from God.  According to John 5:25, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.  Jesus spoke to us with his voice when we were dead in trespasses and sins and caused us to be born of the Spirit of God.  Because of this spiritual birth, we have the capability to seek after God and to be obedient to the faith.  Without this spiritual birth, we did not have the ability to seek after God or be obedient to the faith.

 v.7 To 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.  When Paul says that he is addressing the letter "to all that be in Rome" he is not saying every single individual in Rome without exception.  He further clarifies who he is writing to as those who are "beloved of God" and those who are "called to be saints."  God loved a people before the foundation of the world, but he did not love all people.  Furthermore, those that God loved before the foundation of the world, he calls them to be saints.  This calling of God results in them being born of the Spirit of God.  The word, "saints," comes from the Greek word, "hagios," meaning "holy."  The new or spiritual birth makes us holy.  It separates us (makes us holy) unto the service of God.  Thus, Paul is addressing the letter to God's born again people in Rome.

Signature Markings Identify Paul's Writing

One of the signature markings of Paul's letters is that he mentions God's grace both in the opening of his letters and in the close of his letters, with the exception of the book of Hebrews in which he mentions God's grace only in the close of the letter.  Thus, Paul completely surrounds what he writes with the mention of God's grace.  Grace is the unmerited favor of God.  In Chapter 11 Paul will tell us that you cannot mix grace with works.  If any work of any kind is involved, then it ceases to be grace.  It is solely and purely by God's grace that we were chosen in Christ before the world began and it is solely and purely by God's grace that we are born of the Spirit.  In addition, it is solely and purely by God's grace that we are justified by the blood of Jesus.  In addition, we receive spiritual gifts, solely and purely by God's grace.  Even Paul's writings were solely and purely by the grace of God.  God's grace is far more extensive than anyone of us can fully understand.  Paul declares that grace to come from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Paul also mentions the peace of God.  Peace is the opposite of warfare.  It is also the end of warfare.  This is not talking about peace between nations that maybe have been fighting one another, but rather it is peace between God and his people who were before under the condemnatory, wrathful judgment of God.  In addition, it is peace from the inward warfare that takes place in the hearts of God's people when they judge themselves to be sinners in the sight of God and began to make an effort to get right with God.  When we realize that Jesus died for our sins, then our inward warfare ceases.  This peace also comes from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

v.8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.  The evidence of faith is works.  James said in James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.  Paul is saying to the church at Rome that people throughout the whole world (Roman Empire) were witnessing the works of the church of Rome and therefore were speaking of their faith.  This should encourage us to be careful to always maintain good works.  These good works can be an example to others of God's children to also, walk by faith and not by sight, and to perform the good works God has given us to do. 

Likewise, when we see the good works of others, rather than praising them, we should first thank God for his unspeakable gift and for his grace that has enabled them to perform the good works and also for the leadership of the Spirit of God that has led them to desire to do the good works.

v.9  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; 10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  In life oftentimes, we hear people who make up fair and flattering speeches just to please the hearer.  Paul wanted it to be understood that he was not flattering the readers of the letter, but that God was his witness to the things that he was about to write.  How serious was this to Paul that Paul called God as his witness? 

Paul first testified that he served God with his spirit in the gospel of his Son.  God placed the spirit within Paul.  God gave him the ability to serve Him and who gave him the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The same is true for us.  We certainly have nothing to boast about as all that we have spiritually comes from God.  We should ever be mindful that we are the servants of God and that we are to serve Him with our spirit in the gospel of his Son. 

Instructional Prayer

Paul prayed for those of God's people that were in Rome and he prayed without ceasing.  This doesn't mean that he was praying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It means that in his regular schedule of praying that he remembered to pray for them.  Likewise, we should remember to pray for one another in our regular daily prayers.

Paul also demonstrates to us that in praying we should pray for specific things.  Often times we pray in generalities and not specifics.  We should learn to be specific in the things that we pray for.  Paul was very specific when he said, Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  I want to notice several things about Paul's prayer:

     1.  First, he made request.  He did not demand that God do something.  Likewise, we should understand that when we ask God for something, we are simply making a request.  We have no right to demand anything from God.

     2.  Furthermore, Paul prayed by the will of God.  Our prayer request should likewise be such that we ask that God's will be done and not our will.

     3.  Paul prayed that he might have a prosperous journey.  Only God can make our journey prosperous.  If we undertake a journey without the will of God, then we should expect that we would not be spiritually prospered in our journey.

     4.  Paul was not desiring to make just a social visit to the children of God in Rome, but he desired that he might impart some spiritual gift unto them.  In other words, he desired to preach the gospel unto them that they might be edified and built up in the most holy faith.

     5.  Paul was praying for their benefit, that they might be established in the faith.

     6.  Paul was not trying to give them faith, but rather recognized that they already had faith and prayed that they might be comforted together with him by the mutual faith that he possessed and that they possessed. 

     7.  Paul's prayer was unselfish.  He was not seeking a gain for himself, but rather was seeking for the spiritual welfare of those he was praying.