January 1 - Romans 1:1-7

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Romans 1:1-7 – Greeting

In many of his other letters, Paul associates himself with others … with Timothy, Sosthenes (1 Corinthians 1:1), or Silas. This letter is quite personal. He is a servant … a slave of Jesus Christ. This same term was used in the Old Testament to describe those who were close to God: Abraham (Genesis 26:24), Moses (Joshua 1:20), Amos (Amos 3:7) and Isaiah (Isaiah 20:3). His only difference is that those in the Old Testament were servants of God, while Paul specifically places Christ Jesus in position as his master.

In this letter we find that Paul uses the name “Christ Jesus” as a proper name. It is not simply Jesus the Messiah. While Jesus was alive, he referred to himself as the Son of Man, but it is Paul who began using the title Christ as a name and from there, it has come down to us.  The name Jesus means Savior and Paul uses this quite often, but he uses the name Christ more often.

Paul tells his readers that he was called as an apostle, ensuring that they know he speaks and writes with the same authority as the Twelve. He did not appoint himself as an apostle, he was not appointed by any other man, but called by Jesus Christ himself.  Apostles are messengers, so not only is Paul called by Jesus, but he is then sent out into the world.

In verse two, Paul proclaims that the gospel came about because of a promise made through God’s prophets. The Old Testament continually pointed to the age to come and when the gospel … the good news of Jesus Christ is told, we find that this promise is fulfilled. Paul draws the circle around Jesus Christ. He is the center of the good news. Paul shows the strength of his Jewish lineage through David, the power of the Spirit in him as the Son of God and the grace that comes to each of us who are then called to belong to Jesus.

This gospel … the good news of Jesus Christ is not something to be held tightly in a small sect of believers in Jerusalem, but is to fill the nations of the world … both Jews and Gentiles will come to faith for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ.