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, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we start a journey through Paul’s letter to the Romans. Sometimes I will look at a few verses at a time like today and other times just a single verse. Paul most likely wrote this letter around 53 to 55 AD and was likely in Corinth during his second missionary trip. Romans is the most theologically riches of all his letters. One other thing before we look at today’s verses. Paul gives critics fits. Not only does he identify himself in each letter they are all written within forty years of the crucifixion. So we have an account that is early and with an identifiable author. When Gary Habermas debates skeptics he will use only Paul’s letters to prove the resurrection. It was just this sort of apologetics that helped convince Anthony Flew that God existed.
Paul is amazing. In his greeting to the Romans he not only gives his bona fides as an apostle but also a creed for the early church. We play fast and loose with the word apostle today, but for the early church an apostle was someone who had seen the risen Christ. They were not someone who had a vision, an experience, a burning of the bosom but someone who had an actual encounter with Jesus after the resurrection. This was a limited number of people all of whom dies during the first century.
What I find most fascinating about today’s verses is that in a short seven verses Paul sums up the story of Jesus. Foretold by the prophets from the line of David Jesus is the Son of God. He was resurrected from the dead and it is through Jesus that we receive God’s grace through faith. Entire volumes are written on each part of what Paul was writing about. Paul takes a few verses to outline the faith. Sometimes we get too caught up in detailed explanations and end up making the Christian faith seem more complicated then it is. Paul cuts to the chase and gives us the essentials. He keeps it simple. Jesus. We spend the rest of our time trying to explain the unexplainable. Jesus, God’s Son, the resurrection and out faith, it really is that simple.
Have a blessed day,