Summary: In Romans 1:1–7 Paul unfolds 7 aspects of the good news of Jesus Christ: 1) The Preacher (Rom. 1:1) and Promise (Rom. 1:2), 2) Person (Rom. 1:3-4), 3) Provision , Proclamation, Purpose (Rom. 1:5), and finally the 4) Privileges of the Good News (Rom. 1:7)
A quick look at any newspaper, a radio update or TV newscast, reminds us that in our world most news is bad and seems to be getting worse. What is happening on a national and worldwide scale is simply the magnification of what is happening on an individual level. As personal problems, animosities, and fears increase, so do their counterparts in society at large.
The essence of Paul’s letter to the Romans is that there is good news that is truly good. The apostle was, in fact, “a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest of the gospel of God” (Rom. 15:16). He brought the good news that in Christ sin can be forgiven, selfishness can be overcome, guilt can be removed, anxiety can be alleviated, and life can indeed have hope and eternal glory. In his Romans letter Paul speaks of the good news in many ways, each way emphasizing a uniquely beautiful facet of one spiritual gem. He calls it the blessed good news, the good news of salvation, the good news of Jesus Christ, the good news of God’s Son, and the good news of the grace of God. The letter begins (1:1) and ends (16:25–26) with the good news. With 7,114 words, Romans is the longest of Paul’s letters. The length and theological orientation of this prescript are due mainly to the fact that Paul was introducing himself to a church that he had neither founded nor visited. (Moo, D. J. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 40). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
Each of us naturally as human beings are in the hold of a terrifying power that grips everyone at the very core of our being. Left unchecked, it pushes people to self-destruction in one form or another. That power is sin, which is always bad news. Ours is an age not too much interested in theology; but correct theology—in this case, the person of Jesus—is vital to salvation and to Christian living (Moo, D. J. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 55). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).
Beginning the Good news of the Gospel, in Romans 1:1–7 Paul unfolds seven aspects of the good news of Jesus Christ. He first identifies 1) The Preacher (Romans 1:1) and Promise (Romans 1:2), 2) Person (Romans 1:3-4), 3) Provision , Proclamation, Purpose (Romans 1:5), and finally the 4) Privileges of the good news (Romans 1:6-7).
1) The Preacher & Promise of the Good News (Romans 1:1-2)
Romans 1:1-2 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, (ESV)
God called a unique man to be the major spokesman for His glorious good news. Paul was God’s keynote speaker, as it were, for heralding the gospel. He was given the name Saul at birth, and he is called that until his conflict with Bar-Jesus at Paphos. At that time Luke wrote, “Then Saul, who also is called Paul” (Acts 13:9). From then on, he was called Paul in Acts. As Saul, he was raised a strict Pharisee, from the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5), born in Tarsus and educated in Jerusalem under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Though born to Jewish parents, Saul was also a Roman citizen (Acts 22:27–28). In fact, we know him best by his last name, since Paul (Greek, Paulos) was probably his Roman surname. He would have been formally introduced as Saul Paul (Saulos Paulos). Out of this diverse background, God formed and called a valuable servant. And God used every aspect of Paul’s upbringing to further the spread of the gospel (Barton, B. B., Veerman, D., & Wilson, N. S. (1992). Romans (pp. 1–2). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.).
• The more we learn of biblical characters the more we can appreciate how Gods timing in calling them is perfect. He uses their experience, skills and background in His service. Don’t discount God using all these of you for His work.
In the first verse Paul discloses three important things about himself in regard to his ministry: his position as a servant of Christ, his authority as an apostle of Christ, and his power in being set apart for the gospel of Christ. Paul described his position as a: “Servant/bond-servant” (Doulos) carries the basic idea of slave. There were an estimated 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire; and a slave was looked on as a piece of property, not a person. In loving devotion, Paul had enslaved himself to Christ, to be His servant and obey His will.( Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 514). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.) Because he was called and appointed by Christ Himself, Paul would never belittle his position as an apostle or even as a child of God. He plainly taught that godly leaders in the church, especially those who are diligent in preaching and teaching, are “worthy of double honor” by fellow believers (1 Tim. 5:17). But he continually emphasized that such positions of honor are provisions of God’s grace. No matter who we are—pastor, teacher, office worker, corporation president—if we are to be productive for God, we must be servants—“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45) (Hughes, R. K. (1991). Romans: righteousness from heaven (p. 17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.).