Scripture Reading:  Romans 1:1-7

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:1-4)

The Epistle to the Romans is one of the foundational books of the Bible.  Every believer should know its contents well.  Of course, all Scripture is inspired by God and is essential for us to understand.  But Romans is foundational in that it lays out the essence of Christian theology better than any other book of the Bible.  It gives us a framework for systematic theology which enables us to understand how great our salvation is.

In his usual manner, Paul begins the epistle by identifying himself.  He says three things about his calling — “a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.”  He first identifies himself as “a servant of Christ Jesus.”  Paul did not begin with his call to be an apostle; he began with his call to be a servant of Jesus Christ.  It was true that Paul had the great honor of being one of the apostles, but he did not consider that as his first calling.  He knew his unworthiness and his sinfulness.  Paul called himself “the least of the apostles” (I Corinthians 15:9) and “the chief of sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).  He knew his calling to be an apostle was an act of God’s grace (v. 5).  But following the example of His Savior (Mark 10:45), Paul first considered himself to be a servant.

Paul also said that he had been “set apart for the gospel of God” (v. 1).  The gospel was central to Paul’s message and his life.  He was called to preach the gospel and the gospel was central to everything he did in his life and ministry.  He wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (v. 15).

While we are not all called to be apostles (in that the office ended with the death of the original apostles), all believers called to be servants of Christ Jesus and as His servants we have been set apart for the gospel of God.  As we work our way through Romans, we will see how the gospel is central to the message of Scripture.  And hopefully we will see how we have been called to be servants of Christ Jesus, who have been set apart for the gospel of God.

Lord Jesus, I am grateful that You have chosen me to be one of Your servants.  By Your grace, You have set me apart of the gospel of God and given me the privilege of serving You.  May I serve You well this day and may I live by life in line with the truth of Your gospel.


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