v. 1 “a servant of Christ Jesus,” Paul humbly refers to himself as a servant, a slave to our Lord Jesus. Paul was willingly and completely devoted to serving Christ. Christ is our life, and “in Christ” transformed believers experience an unquenchable desire to know and please Him. Moreover, Pett (online) highlights the honor in the title, “servant of YHWH.” For example, Moses is referred to as “servant of YHWH” as well as Joshua, David, and others whose lives were dedicated to God’s service, (Jos 1:1, 24:29, 2 Sam 7:5).
What does it look like to be a servant? How should we vs. how do we come across to others, especially as we live and breath moment by moment “in Christ?” cf. Phil 2:1-11, Eph 6:5ff.
Paul the “Apostle” had no desire to dominate or present as having “one up” in relationship with others. He wasn’t weak, but made a choice “in Christ” to “deny himself and and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24). Hence, Paul made a choice to allow Christ to live through him and die to his own interests and motivations.
Paul had authority through Christ, “called to be an Apostle…” Therefore, his life was totally devoted:
1. preach the good news (gospel).
2. Begin churches, supervise, contend, and discipline.
With his appointed authority came responsibility and accountability. 1 Cor 4:1ff.
“…set apart for the gospel of God.” When? Acts 9:15, What is the good news? (1 Cor 15:3-6) How important is it that we understand, accept, and contend for the one true gospel? Gal 1:1-12
v. 2 God promised the “gospel” good news in prophetic Scriptures. Christocentric: OT pointing to Christ and the NT Christ is center and always looking to and relying on the sacrificial death for salvation (Jn 3:16).
v. 3-4 “…regarding his Son,” Jesus has always been. “In the beginning…” Jn 1:1 Before he took “human nature” he existed as God the Word (Greek = logos) Jn 1:1-second person of the triune godhead (trinity). “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” Jn 1:14. “…who as to his human nature was a descendent of David,” (Matt 1:1, Luke 1:32, Acts 13:22-23, 2 Tim 2:8). Prophetic Isa 11:1 Jesus as Messiah. Praise “Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“…Spirit of holiness…” Two acceptable interpretations:
1. the unique Spirit of Christ: totally: pure, righteous, powerful over death, Jn 10:18 Jesus laying his life down; 11:25 “I am the resurrection and life…” A reflection of the deity of Christ, hence God the Son. This view interprets a contrast between human nature and Spirit of holiness in Jesus. Phrase only used here by Paul, which lends support for the contrast view.
2. This interpretation “Spirit of holiness” (Hebraism for the Holy Spirit). Through the power of God the Holy Spirit Jesus endured tests and trials during his earthly life, even obedient to death on a cross. Moreover, the power of God confirmed his deity by the resurrection from the dead.
v. 5-7 “Through him and for his name’s sake,” Everything! “In Christ.” Do you find yourself caring more and more about your “in Christ” life?
“we” probably refers to all the Apostles. Grace: all that we have, our ability to share the gospel, love our families, be kind to others, have mercy and love, even for those who reject the gospel is because of God’s grace. What is “grace” in the New Testament? The following is a great reference: Full Article at http://www.bible-researcher.com/grace.html
We have to be on our guard against the supposition that grace is an abstract quality; it is an active personal principle, showing itself in our dealings with those by whom we are surrounded. … In the great proportion of passages in which the word grace is found in the New Testament, it signifies the unmerited operation of God in the heart of man, effected through the agency of the Holy Spirit. We have gradually come to speak of grace as an inherent quality in man, just as we talk of gifts; whereas it is in reality the communication of Divine goodness by the inworking of the Spirit, and through the medium of Him who is ‘full of grace and truth.’” — Robert Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1871), p. 179.
Therefore, because of God’s grace, Paul an Apostle and the other Apostles are God’s call to people “among ‘all’ the Gentiles…” which is consistent with Jesus in Matt 28 to go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples.
What is the desired response from “all people” hearing the gospel (noted in v. 5) that comes from faith?
Although we are not “Apostles” we are “called to belong to Jesus Christ.” Moreover, we “are loved by God and called to be saints.”
What is a saint? Harrison (1976) comments that “saint” is almost the same term as “set-apart” in v. 1. “While it does not indicate actual condition (as opposed to position), it carries the aroma of holiness to which every child of God is called (6:19-22).”
May God the Holy Spirit empower us to diligently study the book of Romans.
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Expositor’s Bible Commentary (1976) F. E. Gaebelein (ed).
Pett, Peter. http://www.angelfire.com/planet/matthew1/romans1.html
NIV Study Bible (1984).