Amazing God, You created me, and Your Son has recreated me. Today, may Your Spirit develop this new life in me.
Read ROMANS 1:1–7
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from[c] faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Pray for spiritual insight and right understanding as you begin this study.
In these opening words, Paul gives us the big picture. The word ‘Trinity’, the crucial Christian insight into God’s being, never appears in the New Testament, but a trinitarian pattern of thought plainly underlies the story the New Testament tells, and the word ‘Trinity’ appropriately conveys that story.
We can see it here. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and has been confirmed as such by the resurrection. In His earthly life He was a descendant of the royal line of David (v 3). He was powerfully raised from death by the Holy Spirit or ‘Spirit of holiness’ (v 4) and is now proclaimed as Lord and Christ. All of this is an outworking of the purpose of the God of Israel whom we call Father (v 7). This purpose was revealed and promised beforehand in Israel’s scriptures and constitutes the gospel of God (v 1) or the good news that Paul has been commissioned to proclaim. Paul’s mission is to call all people, Jews and Gentiles, to the obedience of faith in Christ (v 5). Through this faith, the love and grace of God embrace people’s lives. In this way they belong to Christ and to each other as God’s holy people (v 7).
We are sometimes told that the age in which we live is no longer tolerant of grand narratives. This is because they have been used, by Marxists for instance, to imprison people within a way of understanding history that takes away liberty and the freedom to believe otherwise. Christianity has occasionally fallen into this trap when it has become powerful and worldly, but Paul has nothing of this type in mind. For him the gospel brings freedom, grace, and peace. Rome was the most powerful empire on earth. Paul is about to tell the story of a very different and much more wonderful kingdom.
Reflect on how your personal story fits into God’s story.
Lord, may Your strength sustain me, Your wisdom instruct me, Your Spirit lead me, and Your shield protect me. Deliver me from cultural Christianity.