Romans 1:1 says,
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
called to be an apostle,
separated unto the gospel of God.”
We are all servants or slaves of God or servants of our own lusts and desires. People love to think of themselves as free, bold agents of change. Apple used to encourage us to Think Different. Paul boldly says he’s a “servant” or “slave” of Jesus Christ.
But Paul was called to be the unique Apostle to the Gentiles. God took Paul out of what he was and made him into an Apostle. Paul didn’t “call the shots” and decide at 16 to set the goal of becoming an Apostle by age 30. From an injurious or “an insolent over-bearing man” as he describes himself in First Timothy chapter 1 and verse 13, he was changed into a gentle nourisher of dear children as he puts it in First Thessalonians chapter 2 and verse 7.
God’s calling takes someone out of one place to a completely new one. Remember that God did this with Abraham when he was called out of “Ur of the Chaldees” to be a “friend of God” when everyone around was a slave to their false gods. You can look that up in Joshua chapter 24 verses 2 and 3. And, beautifully, God is calling you as He’s called me. He wants to take us from where we were and put us into a whole new relationship with Himself.
Now we come to that wonderful expression “the gospel of God.” Let’s roll that one around in our minds again…. “the gospel of GOD”!
Here’s the best part. It’s not all about me, it’s not all about you, it’s all about God.
It’s His good news to man. He’s not offering 90% off on visas to heaven. You do your 10% part–He’ll do His.
The gospel is about His righteousness given and not looked for in the human race.
The United States Marines have a marketing slogan that they place next to images of beautifully engraved swords or handsome dress uniforms. You can almost see the chests swell with pride as you hear the words “Earned…Never Given.”
But God’s gospel is the opposite. As we discover in the book of Romans. The gospel is “GIVEN…never earned.”
But there IS a little bit about you and about me in this book of Romans. Here’s what I mean…
When I was shopping for an engagement ring more than 25 years ago I noticed the dark backgrounds and recessed lighting above the display cases. They provided a backdrop that allowed light from above to dance and sparkle from the diamond the jeweler wanted me to focus on.
God has a gem–His Son. He’s made Who His Son is and what He’s done—to be the central sparkling focus of the message He presents to us in…“the gospel of God”. Our sin, failure and helplessness provide the dark background that helps us to appreciate God’s gem.
That’s what you’ll discover as you study God’s presentation of His good news in the book of Romans.
So let’s lift our eyes from the dark background and start to focus together on God’s gem—His Son and His Son’s work.