These are a few notes I jotted down, this morning, on Paul’s intro to the incomparable letter to the beloved of God, and called to be saints, in Christ Jesus, who temporarily called Rome, Italy, their home. Paul wrote the letter while in Corinth, around A. D. 57-58, with a high expectations to eventually, Lord willing, make his way to them in Rome.
Take a minute and walk with me through the first seven verses of Romans one. I believe these will encourage you.
Who is Paul? (Romans 1:1)
Paul described himself as a servant/bondslave of the Lord Jesus Christ. In essence he is saying: I belong to Jesus. He purchased my life, lock, stock and barrel, for He owns all of me and I’m at His mercy. Why? I’ve been bought, sought, fought, caught and taught by my Master. I initially fought His goading... and thought to destroy the “heresy” of Jesus, abolish His name from the earth, and silence anyone that confessed Him and His ways. But it was a useless fight. The harder I pushed the deeper and wider they grew and more faithful they became. I, outside of my own power and authority, couldn’t resist His personal interruption and powerful invasion and permanent investment in me. For He informed me that He interposed His precious blood over my sinfulness and imputed His righteousness to me. He also enlightened me that I would both go to work for Him and suffer for Him and His kingdom. And, by His grace, He granted me repentance to turn... and I trusted Him and the truth that He unashamedly fought for me, bought me with His blood, sought me by His Spirit, and caught me by His grace and that He was committed to teach and use me to share and spread His good news.
What is his assignment? (Romans 1:1)
Paul said, this is my assignment: I am called to be an apostle and sent out with a specific and particular message
Is his assignment limited? (Romans1:1)
Paul said His assignment has limits: I have a limited stewardship to focus primarily on the gospel of God, the good news of His redeeming grace found only in and through His Son.
How do we know of God’s good news? (Romans 1:2)
This gospel, He promised before time (Titus 1:1-3) and He revealed His promise in time, through His prophets and current messengers (like Paul), and gave us a recorded record of them, known as the Holy Scriptures. God spoke His messages, through them, and has kept this revelation of Himself preserved for us, today. And God’s gospel is based upon and found throughout the Scriptures, for which Paul taught and preached.
Who is God’s good news about? (Romans 1:3)
This good news of His redeeming grace is concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who is Jesus Christ?
This Jesus was born miraculously and naturally. He was flesh and bones and had real blood flowing through His veins and body. He had a real mother who is a direct descendant of King David. He lived a real life and is a royal heir to the throne of Judah and kingly line of the tribes of Israel, through His mother’s side and also His stepfather’s side. Joseph, His stepfather, knew he wasn’t Jesus’ biological father. Joseph also knew he had been divinely called, and instructed by God, to love, lead, nurture, guide, teach and cherish his virgin wife and her child, as his very own.
Was He God’s Son?
His life, words, thoughts, message, acts, deeds, sacrifice, blood, death, burial and resurrection reveal to us that His birth was something more than natural, like all other births. His birth was miraculous, for He was found to be true, righteous and without the mar of sin, inherited by a natural father. His bodily resurrection declares that He had no earthly father but was the offspring of God, Himself.
Why is all this essential?
Every other natural born man was corrupted by the fall of Adam. And that sin nature was passed down through the father’s, throughout the history of humanity... until, Jesus was born of a virgin. And His conception in the womb of His mother was nothing short of a supernatural miracle that fulfilled many Older Testament prophecy, this child being born of a virgin and a Son given to her to raise. His name would be called Immanuel. For God had clothed Himself in flesh and journeyed in this fallen world with us. And His resurrection is the verdict of God, declaring to this world that He, Jesus of Nazareth, is innocent, not guilty, justified and justifiable, trustworthy and believable, worthy and wonderful. His stripes and chastisement and death were for you... not because He was a transgressor or sinner or full of iniquity. He was blameless, without sin or fault... because God placed our sins and iniquities and trespasses and guile and waywardness and backsliding and unfaithfulness upon Him and He justly took our wrath, judgment and curse, in our place. He, for God, became sin, your sin, for you, so you could be righteous, yes, that you, for God, could have His righteousness and be declared not guilty in GOD eyes.
What is the purpose of it all?
And through Him and His finished work we received grace for this life and when we die and also grace for our assignment. Both, our conversion and calling, are the fruit of His redeeming grace, and this fruit was given to enable us for obedience. This obedience will be manifested in our conduct, convictions, character, commitments and conversations that all point to the faith of Him who converted, called and commissioned us to publish His redeeming grace before the nations for His name sake. Yes, before the people He planted you among today. You are a gospel seed strategically planted in the place He’s planted you to bear witness to the riches of glories of His grace. He will supernaturally nurture and water and cultivate you for this purpose... as you recognize His purpose for having you right where you are.
So the personification of God’s redeeming grace, and His good news about it, is the Lord Jesus Christ.
And the purpose of this personification is to have a real and everlasting relationship with men and women, and boys and girls, who once were alienated and separated from God, because of their own sin and rebellion, but now, by faith, have been redeemed, reconciled, rescued and restored by Christ’s life and righteousness.
God with us, in Christ, He lived!
God for us, in Christ, He died!
God in us, in Christ, He lives!
He lived His life WITH US, a life that we could never live.
He died His death FOR US, a death that we could never die because of the life we could never live.
He lives His life IN US, a life that we could never live, without the death that He died AND the life that He lived.
His atoning life and death is applied to ours when we simply, by faith, turn to Immanuel and turn from trusting ourselves or anything else and entrust our sin, lives and future to Him, His message and mission. (Mark 8:34-38)
It's not by accident...
The placing of Romans 1:16-17, within Romans 1, has to be strategic and serves to remind us again, that it is NOT us or our goodness that separates those who love and live for Jesus and His message of the cross. And it's not an issue of who's better, it's about WHO makes them different and gives them an entirely different aim and agenda to live and die for.
Notice where it sits, neatly BETWEEN a body of worshippers and those under wrath. Who are those under wrath? Humanity, as a whole, that stand in a dangerous place without the covering of Jesus' life and death. They're men and women, boy and girls, that do not know, love, treasure, like or desire to know and understand Jesus and His redeeming grace. Fallen humanity, who manifest daily (along with every believer) the very reason we all stand in need of a Redeemer. They who mock or despise or hold in contempt or hate or treat lightly or reduce or redefine or persecute or appreciates but has nothing to do with or simply disregards the claims of Jesus as all man made religious jargon. Regardless of their cultural background, or their values or their contributions to society, they are those who live and breath and function in this world by their own terms, means, feelings and intellect and rely upon anything and everything else BUT the LORD JESUS.
WHAT is it that stands between and separates the believers in Romans 1:1-15 and those without Christ and under God's wrath and condemnation mentioned in Romans 1:18-32? THE GOSPEL of God. Who is it that is the difference maker between those within the kingdom and those outside of the kingdom? Jesus and His gospel, the gospel of the righteousness of God, found only in the grace the Lord Jesus. This is why Paul reminds Titus to teach his people not to bad mouth a deceived, disobedient and distant world around them... because the only difference between us and them is the INTERRUPTION of Jesus and His gospel and the INVASION of His graces. We were what they are... but Jesus and the power of His gospel is now what separates us from them (Titus 3:3-7). What Paul shared with Titus is exactly what he's sharing with us in Romans 1 and 2. It's not an issue of who's better, it's about WHO makes them different and gives them an entirely different aim and agenda to live and die for. We all live in the shadow of the fall... but some of us live in the light of the cross of Christ. Glory!!!
Blessings friends... I do pray these truths help and encourage you, and may y'all have a lovely and glorious night and looking to and leaning on Immanuel.
Check out Pastor Nick’s corresponding audio message, “Bought, Sought And Caught” posted on March 6, 2019.