October 12, 2015
Today’s reading: Romans 1:1-7
Paul defines himself at the start of his letter to the Romans, what he is and what he is to do. He effectively defines who is a true Christian. “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God” (v.1). There are three aspects to being a Christian–holiness (to be set apart), discipleship (a slave of Jesus) and mission (an apostle, one sent forth).
A Christian is to be like God, “called to be holy” (v.7b), to take on “the spirit of holiness” (v.4b). If he is to do God’s work, then he must take on the mind and heart of God.
A Christian is to be a disciple of Jesus, to be his follower and worker. He is “called to belong to Jesus Christ” (v.6). If he is to do God’s work, then he must live not for himself but only for Jesus, to be self-denying and not self-referential, to be totally obedient and submitted to God’s will.
A Christian is to be used by the Holy Spirit for mission, to proclaim “the gospel about his Son” (v.3a) and make disciples of all nations. He has “received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles” (v.5). If he is to do God’s work, then he must go forth, out of comfort zones, away from personal preferences or agenda, fully determined to bring the good news to the ends of the earth.
All three are essential. One or two without the other(s) would not be enough.
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God bless you.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
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