1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
My Credentials in One Word
What are your credentials? What qualifies you for the position you hold, the rank you have achieved, or the work you do?
The introductory paragraphs of the book of Romans, as is typical for Paul’s writings, are full of content. He writes about his identity in Christ, about the recipients and about God, and he writes about these things even more than he does in the introductions to his other letters. In this particular case, he also includes detailed information about the gospel.
What are your credentials?
Paul introduces himself as a slave belonging to the Messiah. If we were to focus on just this portion we would already have much to say, but for now let me simply point to the fact that introducing himself in this way automatically introduces Jesus as his Lord. Paul also presents himself as one who was called to be an apostle. He did not decide to be an apostle, nor a part of the delegation that Jesus chose, nor to volunteer to be sent on behalf of the Messiah. He was rescued, while being a rebel against the kingdom. He was set apart. He was taken from the inner side of the gates of Hades and brought to the kingdom of Jesus’ marvelous light, to officially announce the praises of Him who rescued him.
So what are Paul’s credentials? As he introduces himself to the Romans, we see that all of his credentials are connected to Jesus; His identity and His work. Paul’s credentials can be summed up in one word: Jesus.
What about you? Who are you in Christ? What are your credentials?
(This was originally posted on the Biblearc blog by Josué Pineda on October 8, 2015.)
Nothing New, Nothing More Glorious.
Paul was not a volunteer for the gospel; he was set apart for the gospel. In other words, to announce the good news became a purpose in his life. As Peter said: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV),
Paul’s gospel was not a different one than the one the other apostles preached. His gospel was about Jesus, in whom we have found, perfectly expressed, the excellencies of God. This gospel was not a new recipe or invention, but “just” a restatement of the promises found in the Old Testament through the prophets, the good news about the Son of God, the Messiah.
This Jesus, Son of David and Son of God, human and divine, who was crucified in weakness, died as a man, and resurrected in the power of God, is Paul’s Lord. He is the one who did not commit sin, but yet died for our sins.
This is the Gospel. The Lord is inviting the rebels (the sinners, you and me) to receive His grace and forgiveness, to submit to His kingdom, to live in obedience to the faith in Him because we love Him. It is a calling to belong to Him. This is not about feeling religious, but about stating allegiance.
Jew or non-Jew, man or woman, rich or poor, no matter who you are, you are invited to hear God’s good news about His Son. The most important thing in your life, in order to know who you are, is to know to whom you belong.
(This was originally posted on the Biblearc blog by Josué Pineda on October 15, 2015.)