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About-Him.Com Devotional 10-13-2012

Thoughts in Romans
  Not Ashamed of the Gospel (Part 2)

Romans 1:1 ¶  Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,  

Paul a servant of Jesus Christ  

Paul, a freeborn citizen of Rome, when slavery was  very prevalent chose to be called the bondservant of Christ. It has been estimated that up to 90% of the Roman world was made up of slaves. The slave of that time had much more freedom than the slaves of the American south in the 1860s, but the fact remains that they were owned by another.  

We read in Exodus of the slave who refused freedom and declared that he would stay with his master, because he loved him. When this happened, an aul was pierced through his ear and he was pinned to the door of the masters house. Paul reminds us in Galatians 6:17 that he bore the mark of Christ in his own body. No doubt he was referring to being  stoned and being beaten three time with rods as well as being shipwrecked and stranded at sea (2 Co. 11:25).  

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.  

1 Corinthians 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

Called to be an apostle  

In Galatians 1:15-16 We read of Paul being called by the grace of God at his birth and appointed to preach the gospel to the heathen. This he could not do until God had revealed his Son to Paul.  Paul received this revelation  when he  was struck down on the road to Damascus. Blinded and flat on his back He cried out, “ “Who are you, Lord?” The answer came back, I am Jesus.... (Ac. 9:5)” In Ac. 13:2 he was separated and sent forth by the Holy Ghost and sent out on the mission field. With a resume like that, who can doubt Paul's credentials? Sometimes we also have to be flat on our backs before we cry out to God for help, eh?  

Separated unto the gospel of God.  

We mentioned earlier that there are a lot of gospels floating around,  but only one gospel of God, which gives us hope of eternal salvation. A good definition of the gospel is given by Jesus in Luke 24:46:  

Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  

Romans 1:2  (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

This gospel was promised by the prophets in the holy scriptures. Remember the story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8.  He was reading Isaiah 53 and asked Phillip, “Is the writer talking of himself or another?” Phillip began at the same scripture and preached Jesus to him (Ac. 8:35). I'm sure he mentioned Isaiah 7:14, of a virgin bearing a Son and calling His name Immanuel, meaning God with us. Or Isaiah 9:6 of a human son being called Wonderful,  Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. He may have mentioned Isaiah 40. The Lord God would come among them as a Shepherd caring for His tender lambs. When they saw this they are instructed to go to the high mountains and cry out, “Behold your God!”  

Phillip must have covered a lot of ground because when they came to a body of water, the eunuch stated, “Here is water what hinders me from being baptized? Phillip said he could on the condition that he believed the word with all of his heart. The eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”  Phillip baptized him in water according to the words of Jesus in Mark 16:16 and Matthew 28:19, and the example of Peter in implementing these commands in Acts 2:38. The eunuch came up rejoicing and he and Phillip went their separate ways. The eunuch  is said to have carried the gospel to Egypt. The Egyptian Coptic Church claims him as their founder.  

Romans 1:3  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
4  And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

Jesus is the Son of God. He is the eternal Word which was in the beginning with God and was God. The Word was made flesh and His glory was beheld as the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:1,14). His human genealogies were traced by both Matthew and Luke and showed Him to be a Son of David according to His flesh (Mt. 1:1-16; Lu. 3:23-30). This fulfilled the promise of God in Psalms 132:11 that from the fruit of David's loins He (God) would set on David's throne. He was declared and proven to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead by  God's Spirit that resided in Him.  

Romans 1:5  By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:  

It was from Jesus that Paul receives authority and anointing to carry the gospel to a large part of the known world to make known the mighty name of Jesus (Php. 2:9-11).  We likewise have been commissioned by Jesus to carry the good news of the gospel to every creature in every part of the earth (Mk. 16:15-16: Mt. 28:19-20). Just as Paul relied on the grace and power of God, we rely on the power given to us by the Holy Ghost that enables us to be witnesses of Jesus to Jerusalem, Judea and the uttermost parts of the earth. Most of us won't go to Jerusalem or Judea, but we can be witnesses at home, downtown or wherever there is somebody who needs to hear the good news of Jesus Christ (Ac. 1:8).  

Romans 1:6  Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:  

I like this verse. This epistle is not just some abstract thesis written for some ancient people, it includes you and me also. Think about it. We are the called of Jesus Christ. We are allowed to sit in heavenly in Christ Jesus (Ep. 1:3, 2:6). Is there any higher honor on this earth?  

In verses 7-13 Paul salutes the Roman church and commends them for their faith which is spoken well of throughout the Christian world. He never fails to make mention of them in his prayers. Although he has been prohibited by the Spirit he continually petitions God to allow him to travel to Rome. He desires to share and expound the gospel to them, that they might have a deeper understanding of their faith in Christ. He desires to impart to them some spiritual gift.  

Romans 1:14  I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
15  So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

The gospel of Christ stood in opposition to the eloquent speeches of the Greeks who prided themselves on being masters of logic. The Roman influence was their great system of law, much of which is the foundation of our modern law systems today. The Jews relied on being God's chosen who preserved His law and followed it to the letter, but knew little of it's Spirit. Some of these people may have been of good moral character. Some probably were evil. All were dwelling in darkness.  

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  

2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Paul felt obligated to preach to any of them who would receive it. Is this not still our commission?  Nothing has changed. We, like these ancient peoples still  rely on everything except what we should be relying on.  

Proverbs 16:25 ¶ There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.  

You may have read in the newspaper that the United States no longer has a Protestant Christian majority.  Perhaps this explains why abortion is so unabashedly being championed in our present presidential election as a woman's right to choose. Not to mention opposition to God's ordinance of marriage as between one man and one women.  

So what is the answer? It is still found in the gospel of Jesus Christ!  

Romans 1:16 ¶  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Some additional background:  

Romans 16 is mostly used for greetings to acquaintances of the Apostle Paul such as Pricilla and Aquila who were now living in Rome.  We note there that Paul's epistle to the Romans is delivered by a lady named Phebe who was a deaconess of the church of Chenchrea, which was a suburb of Corinth where Paul was staying on his second missionary journey.  

In Romans 16:27 there is a subscript, inserted by the translators of the  KJV bible that states that the epistle was ,”Written to the Romans from Corinthus, [and sent] by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.”  

In Romans 16:2, Paul asks the Roman saints to assist Phebe in whatever business she hadin Rome. This doesn't really fit the picture of first century female saints being oppressed, does it? We can surmise that when Paul heard that Phebe was going to Rome, he figured it was a good time to sit down and write them a letter. When he had finished he had compiled what has come to be known as the Gospel according to Paul. It was stated by a skeptic named Renan  that, “When Phebe sailed from Corinth with Paul's epistle she carried with her the whole future of Christian theology.”  

We hope to continue in Romans next week.  
Somebody Has Said
An ineffably holy God, who has the utmost abhorrence of sin, was never invented by any of Adam's descendents. A.W. Pink  

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Don and Marie Spooner
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