(Part 37)


October 16, 2017

Today’s reading:  Romans 1:1-7

One constant call of Paul to the Christian communities was to unity in Christ. It is the same with us today, and we are seeing that unity happens when we are (1) all striving for holiness, (2) being authentic servants of the one Master, and (3) engaging in mission as warriors. Paul was of course the epitome of all these. In his letter to the Romans, Paul in effect states who he is and what he is, in his very opening greeting. “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God” (v.1).

To be holy is to be “set apart.” To be a slave is to be an obedient, self-sacrificing servant. To be an apostle is to be “sent forth.” Paul acknowledged his call as being called to be holy, to be a servant or slave of Jesus, and to be sent forth to proclaim the gospel of God.

Paul goes on through his introductory greeting to emphasize his call, which is the same call to those he is writing to, in this particular case the Christians in Rome. His letter is addressed “to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.” (v.7a). All Christians are called to be holy as God is holy. Paul also says that “through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles” (v.5). All Christians are sent forth to proclaim Christ to all the nations and bring them to faith in and obedience to Jesus, as all “are called to belong to Jesus Christ” (v.6).

Holiness and apostleship. What does that make Christians? They are holy warriors.

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