Gracious Father, I thank You for Your grace that restores and forgives. Work Your will in me today.
Read Romans 1:1-7
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“If you would make human beings happy, give them a task and a cause, and the harder the better” (W. MacNiele Dixon 1866-1946).
Paul’s letter to the Romans is beautifully written. Today’s reading, which is broken up into several sentences in most translations, is all one carefully crafted sentence in the original Greek. Notice how Paul opens with his name and ends with a greeting to the recipients, following the letter-writing convention of the day. He begins and ends with Jesus Christ, and also names him emphatically in the middle. In the first part of the sentence Paul zooms in on his calling to the gospel of Jesus; in the second he zooms outward to his God-given assignment to the Romans. This densely packed sentence brilliantly sums up who Paul is, who Jesus is and who Paul’s readers are.
Paul identifies himself as a slave of Christ. He never regards his life as his own, to do with as he chose. His assignment from the very start (Acts 9:16) was to carry the gospel to the Gentiles.
He was “not disobedient to the vision from heaven” (Acts 26:19). He was clear about his purpose in life, and knew how to translate his assignment into a plan of action. He saw the people he was writing to in exactly the same light, Jews and Gentiles called to belong to Jesus Christ, called to be “saints,” God’s holy people, called to declare God’s praises (1 Pet. 2:9).
The Gospel is the Good News about Jesus Christ, who was born a Jew (3) but during his earthly life, had welcomed Gentiles into God’s kingdom. Luke (himself a Gentile) emphasized this aspect of Jesus’ ministry, even holding up Gentiles to the Jews as examples of the faith that God was looking for (e.g. the Roman centurion in Luke 7:9). Jesus’ resurrection inaugurated a new age in which he reigns in power over Jew and Gentile alike.
Where has God called you to witness? What are the hindrances? Pray about them now.
Lord, I thank You for the large purposes that call me: the call to be Your child, to be holy, to serve rather than be served, to hope in Your future.
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