Putting Pen To Paper

Romans 1:1-7

Having considered the value of this epistle and the importance of its central subject, Justification by Faith, in the introductory study we shall now ponder the opening words of the Apostle. The most difficult work of letter writing is the act of putting pen to paper. How will I begin? How shall I express myself? What words ought to be selected? Paul’s method in introducing his letter to the Romans is most interesting. This the longest introduction by far of all his letters, which is not surprising because this is his most important epistle. As he opens his communication he introduces himself and his message and he also tells the Romans what he thought of them as a Church.

1: The Credentials of the Communicator v1-2

  • His Name – Paul, emphasising that his ministry was to the Gentiles.

  • His Service – Paul was a servant or a slave (“doulos”). He was personally enslaved to Christ.

  • His Apostleship – He was either the 12th Apostle, replacing Judas, therefore making the choice of Matthias a mistake or he was the 13th Apostle who effectively took the Gospel to the Gentiles on behalf of the other 12. Whatever your view he holds the highest of ranks within the Christian Church.

  • His Separation – He was set apart by God for a special ministry, Galatians 1:15.

His Message – The word Gospel was created from two words, God and Spell (or story). His task was to tell the story that God wanted mankind to hear. This was nothing new or novel as this Gospel was promised by the ancient Hebrew Prophets.

2: The Centrality of Christ v3-5

  • Christ’s Identity – Using 4 titles Paul tells us who Jesus is, The Son of God, Jesus the man, Christ the Messiah and our Lord.

  • Christ’s Humiliation – Clothed in flesh, a direct descendant of David.

  • Christ’s Holiness – Christ has an intimate relationship with the Holy Ghost. He is possessed with the Spirit of holiness. He was therefore set apart from sinners and was impeccable in that He could not sin.

  • Christ’s Exaltation – He was exalted by virtue of his resurrection, this was the moment when Christ was publicly declared to be God’s Son with power.

  • Christ’s Authority – The Lord invests men with the authority to carry on his witness. Paul was one such man having been personally appointed by Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:5,8.

  • Christ’s Commission – The final words of v5 take us back to the Great Commission and the importance of the Church reaching out into all parts of the earth with the Gospel.

3: The Characteristics of the Congregation v6-7

  • The Roman Church Planned By Christ – The Church is in place as a consequence of Christ’s worldwide commission.

  • The Universal Address – He has a word for all the believers, all Christians are valuable within the life of the Church.

  • The Preciousness of the People – Christians are God’s beloved. In this book Paul would teach that we have been loved by God from eternity and that this is an unbreakable chain (Romans 8:31-39).

  • All Christians are Saints – This explodes the myth of the Roman Catholic idea of Saints and their ministry. Each believer is a saint or a “Holy One”. This is rooted in our identification with Christ and our justification ( the major theme of the letter). The believer is a saint because he has been called, therefore emphasising the grace of God.

  • His Greeting – Paul embraces these Christians in a thoroughly Christian fashion wishing them grace and peace (two vital elements of the Gospel) . Grace brings peace and they are given to us by God through Christ.

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