Part 2 – We Are Slaves – Called and Separated
Since Paul has never been to Rome, nor have the people met him (a few there do know him as one can see in Romans 16), in order for Paul’s doctrinal Letter to be accepted by the church he needs to verify his authority. In verse one Paul does this, but the emphasis isn’t so much on his credentials, but more on what the Lord has done to make Paul humbly authoritative. Paul tells us three things about who he is, or more importantly, what the Lord has done to him (and these three points, or divine actions, are applicable to all believers).
- Paul – and all Christians – are ‘slaves’ (doulos) of Christ Jesus. We aren’t just hired servants, but we are owned by the Lord – we are His slaves. He bought/purchased/redeemed us from the devil with the precious unfathomable price of His own blood. The Lord God is our Master – and He is a Good Master. He will care for those that belong to Him. We shouldn’t be alarmed at being called ‘slaves’, but rather be grateful that the Lord, because of His great love for us, sacrificed His Son in order for you and I to belong to Him – to be a part of His family – to forever sit at His Table as one of His children – freed from the devil, sin, ourselves, and the world to be His slaves forever. What a privilege – what a joy!
- Paul was ‘called to be an apostle’. Apostle means ‘sent out ones’, so all Christians – in a very limited sense – are ‘apostles’, but when the New Testament speaks of apostles it is speaking of a particular and specific Church office that consists of only the 13 appointed and anointed Apostles that were entrusted with the Words of God to teach and establish the early Church. But it’s okay that we aren’t ‘called apostles’, because we have been ‘called’ to salvation. There is an outward call of the Gospel that all are to hear; and there is an inward calling, which consists of the spiritual and eternal life of Christ that the Holy Spirit places within us when we are regenerated – born again – saved – justified. All Christians have been ‘called’, and all whom the Father calls will come to Jesus, and they will be justified, and will all eventually be glorified.
- Paul was ‘set apart for the Gospel’. Yes, Paul was specifically set apart to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, and I – and all other Christian pastors – have been called to preach to and shepherd our churches; but, once again, all Christians have been set apart from birth to belong to the family of God, and to be used of the Lord to proclaim the Truth of the Gospel to all we come in contact with.
So, indeed Paul had the ‘credentials’ of an Apostle, hence the Church at Rome should listen to what he has to say. And you and I, if we have come to faith in Christ, have our eternal credentials as well: We are slaves to our Gracious and Merciful Master; we have been called unto salvation by His grace; and we have been set apart as vessels of God’s glory that are to share the Good News that Jesus saves those who are lost.