Romans Devotional 4- What the Lord Has Done for Me (Rom 1:1)
By Christy Tran
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—” (Rom 1:1, NIV)
The first verse of Romans contains two titles that Paul is proud to call himself as – “slave (doulos)” and “apostle (apostolos).” Paul is a slave to Jesus and in particular, he is His apostle.
We have learned the meaning of “slave.” (Refer to: Romans Devotional 3- Jesus and I: Lord and slave? (Rom 1:1)) Now, let us look into the second title, “apostle.”
“I am Paul, Apostle of Jesus Christ!” This was the noblest grace that Paul wanted to boast of most, not only in Romans but in many of his other letters, such as 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians.
Back in the days of Jesus, apostleship was not granted recklessly.
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.” (Luke 6:12-13, NIV)
After praying all night to God, Jesus chose His apostles out of a large number of disciples. So what exactly is an apostle?
An apostle is someone who is being sent, a messenger sent on a mission, or a delegate. Just as an ambassador is chosen and sent on a mission as a fully authorized representative of a president, an apostle is chosen and sent as the fully authorized representative of the sender – God Himself.
An apostle is entrusted with divine authority and power from God as Christ’s representative. Therefore Paul is not merely preaching his own thoughts but the very message from Christ, on behalf of Christ, as His designated and authoritative representative. We’d better listen to this apostle of Christ!
How did Paul become His apostle? Most essentially, Paul was “called.” It is one of the most important facts about Paul that he has never failed to emphasize.
“Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.” (Gal 1:1, NIV)
He was not self-appointed. He was sent “not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ.”
Jesus said: “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” (John 15:16, NIV) The Lord chose, called, and sent His chief persecutor Paul who once tried to destroy His church (Acts 9:1-2) before his conversion. Paul did not even have a glimpse of thought of being His apostle until the Lord appeared to Him, chose him, and commissioned him to be one.
“Though I am an unforgivable sinner, He has loved me and appointed me to be His Apostle,” says Paul. “I am a called apostle; I am an apostle not because of me but because of His loving call.” Therefore, his apostleship is of sheer grace of God – not based on what he has done for himself but what God has done for him.
“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” (Ps 66:16, NIV)
In the Letter to the Romans, the Apostle powerfully testifies to us what God has done for us in His great love. Dear friends, let us too not turn blind eyes to the unspeakable grace that we have received and proclaim what He has done for us in our lives.
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