Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Reflections of Romans 1:1-15

Just want to reflect a little on what Anna and I have been reading in Romans recently.  We just finished Romans 1:1-15, which is probably a good place to stop and reflect.

And I want to choose a theme to dwell on in it.  There so many themes you could pick out.  Verses 3 and 4 are all about Christology.  The theme of "calling" comes up again and again (verses 1, 6, and 7).  But what I want to meditate on is Paul's sincerity in ministry.

In verse 9 Paul says he does his service "in his spirit", which many commentators (e.g. Moo and Martyn Lloyd Jones) take to be a statement of his sincerity.  He serves Christ with his Spirit.  And then in verse 10 he talks about how often he is praying for the church at Rome "always making mention of them in his prayers."  You have to wonder how the mind of Paul worked.  When he was waiting at Pizza Hut for his pizza to cook and with nothing to do, was he just serially going through all the churches he could think of and praying for them one by one?  That is the way he talks.

He saw himself as "called to be an apostle" (verse 1) and "set apart for the gospel of God", also verse 1.  His life orientation was towards ministry.  What he says he was set apart for was not just "Jesus" or "God".  He was "set apart for the gospel of God".  Ministry.  It was what Paul lived for.  Even the noun he uses for himself points to this: He was a bondservant.  When you think of slavery, you think of all the crazy work slaves have to do.  That is what defines them.  The thought is not so much chains or the status of being bought as a slave, as it is service and sweat and energy all being expended for Christ.

Paul's entire relationship with the church at Rome is gospel and ministry oriented.  It's not like that is something on the side, or even something at the core that is surrounded by other kind of stuff.  Paul, no where in the letter, does small talk kind of stuff.  In verse 11 he says he wants to impart or demonstrate to them a spiritual gift.  In verse 12 he says he wants there to be mutual encouragement and edification from their meeting.  In verse 15 he says he wants to preach the gospel to them.  And he states this at the outset.  He was a man of purpose and I want to be like that.

You know, when was the last time you said, "Hey, I want to come over to your house so that we can have an experience of the Holy Spirit together"?  That kind of thing is only born out of a dedication to a calling.  It isn't natural.

You see this again in verse 14.  Paul, when he is referring to his ministry to people, says he is a debtor to them.  He doesn't say that it would be a good thing, like a cherry on top, if he preaches the gospel to the Greek and the barbarian.  He says he's in debt to them and won't be out of the debt unless he tells them the gospel.  It's a very unique thought and gives you a glimpse into how Paul's mind worked.  He felt under obligation.  Compulsion.  Like it would be awkward and just wrong if he didn't.  God, please give me that mindset.


  1. Wow... good thoughts to take with me today. Thank you! :)

  2. :) Thank you Lena for reading and commenting!