I have heard my Professor state that the test of the maturity of any believer or any church was their understanding of Paul’s letter to the Romans. Apostle Paul wrote this grand letter of Romans in about AD 57, towards the end of his third missionary journey (Acts 18:23-19:41), while he was in Corinth. The letter is considered as one of the greatest theological document every written. In this letter, Apostle Paul outlines what Christians believe and explains God’s perfect plan in bringing sinners back to Him. Apostle Paul is bringing out the important issue of righteousness the question of how a person can be in the right standing with God, and how a person can live a God-honoring righteous life.
Let us read Romans 1:1-7
“1 Paul, a servant[a] 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[b] 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.”
In these verses, Apostle Paul introduces himself, his message, and his readers. The letter begins with Apostle Paul claiming as one who is a servant of Christ Jesus. Now a servant was without rights in the ancient world; a servant’s marriage and family were not recognized; a servants’ death was not important therefore to be a servant was a terrible thing.
But Apostle Paul uses it as a Badge of honor for he belongs to the Lord. Then he goes on describing himself in verses 1 and 5 and it is a description of how he has been shaped and affirmed by the gospel. In verses 2 to 4, Paul describes his message, that Jesus Christ is our Lord. In verse 3, Apostle Paul tells us that the humanity of Jesus Christ is real and it is not imagined. In verse 4, Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus’ deity is confirmed by His bodily resurrection. In verses 6, Apostle Paul describes the work of the Gospel in their lives. They are called and loved by God and set apart as His holy people. In verse 7, Apostle Paul changes the traditional greeting of “joy and prosperity” to the more gospel-focused, “grace and peace”.
As J.I. Packer in this book Knowing God, is our identity stated this truth, “I am a child of God. God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. My Savior is my brother; every Christian is my brother too” It is an identity shaped by the gospel.
Our lives need to be shaped by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. GG