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Word from Scotland

    by Sandy Shaw

Spiritual Riches Revealed in These Opening Words of Romans
Date Posted: May 17, 2021

We come to Romans Chapter 1 . In this first verse of Romans every word is significant and weighty. The one main lesson in this book is - to learn the right way of getting right with God.

Chapters 1to 8 deal with the salvation which God works - (see also Philippians Chapter 2verses 12,13 )

Chapters 9 to 16 shows how it works in practice. In Chapters 9 to 11 we are given God's Plan for the Jews - God's dealing with Israel - how they have been rejected in the past, so that we Gentiles may come in to the Kingdom of God - their present position - and one day in the future when all Israel shall be saved and restored.

This letter is full of salvation - and it is a full comprehensive salvation.

To open - it begins with the name of the writer which was a familiar form at the time - and seemed sensible. A modern business letter takes this form.

Paul writes about big themes - but there are greetings - from a brother in Christ. It has to be more than just formal - this is a letter from a brother to beloved disciples of Jesus Christ - written in Corinth and carried by deaconess Phoebe.

Paul introduces himself - these are my qualifications - Paul presents his credentials. Paul gives no grand introduction - no 'church planter' - or writer.

Three miracles in these words - PAUL - born a Jew - a Pharisee of the Pharisees – now called Saul after the first King of Israel. You would think such a man would never change his name - but he did - taking the Greek Gentile name Paul.

SERVANT - or SLAVE - now Paul was a religious aristocrat - a scholar who had been to University. But he is NOT his own - he had bought with a price - the blood of Jesus Christ.

Slaves had no rights in the Roman Empire - and of the 120 million people in the Roman Empire at that time around 60 million were slaves.

A SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS - Paul had been brought up to look for the Messiah - and Paul is saying to the world - I have found the Messiah - I have found the Christ.

It is better to be a slave of Christ than be a slave to anything else - ambition - alcohol - drugs - fragile temporary success - money - or whatever it might be.

CALLED - He did not just receive the call of Jesus Christ - but he obeyed it - and he makes it clear that it is God who called him. Remember - it is possible to be called of God and not obey.

We are CALLED to BELONG - and we belong to OBEY.

APOSTLE - I am a sent one - the Latin word is missionary - or missile – he was called to be a Christian missile.

But notice that GRACE comes before APOSTLEHSIP.

He was set apart - separated - one who is different. Now this is something we have to accept. We are different - separated from certain things - set apart - in the world, but NOT of it.

"Reserved for the use of God". Galatians 1verse 15 - Acts 13verse 2 .

This calling is an Act of God. We are separated for the Gospel - set apart FROM - and set apart FOR.

Paul was set apart for the Gospel of God - the good news of God - THE Gospel - getting right and being right with God - the good news of being saved - forgiven - washed - cleansed - born again to eternal and everlasting life.

This is good news - not simply good advice.

The Gospel means good news - the word was used of something that had happened, that would change the situation completely - e.g. news of a victory in battle - or if someone was in trouble, to announce that help was on its way.

In the Gospel something happens to change peoples' lives. Jesus Christ came not only to preach the Gospel but that there might be a Gospel to preach.

O how Paul had been changed and how he was used to proclaim the Gospel which could change others.

God promises this in the Old Testament - the OT prophets saw this. There is a link and a continuity, and this is important to the Jews.

The Good News of Jesus Christ is rooted in the Old Testament Scriptures - and this good news which God predicted would come to the world was centred in PERSON - God's Son - Jesus Christ, our Lord.

LORD signifies the owner of the slave. He had absolute authority over the person. And Jesus was of the seed of David - he was truly man - a descendent of David - man and God - this is so similar to opening of John's Gospel.

And here is Paul in his opening remarks referring to Resurrection. You say He deserves to die - I say He deserves to live. It was the Holy Spirit who raised up Jesus from the dead, and His Resurrection declared Him to be whom He had claimed to be.

Paul preached the resurrection of Jesus Christ - that Jesus having been crucified was risen and alive - that He had ascended, having completed the work the Father gave Him to do.

And - from Jesus - we have received Grace and Apostleship.

Grace is the mercy and love of God - spontaneous - beautiful - unearned - at work in Jesus Christ for the salvation of sinful men.

Peace is the effect and fruit in a man when he receives that Grace - and Peace has that meaning of STABILITY.

Grace and Peace - you must get these from God - and through Jesus Christ.

As you read these opening words of Romans may you sense something of the warmth and touch of Jesus, which has been the experience of many, down through the centuries.

“O Lord my God – many have taken up this book of Romans – this profound yet simple letter – and have discovered the risen Jesus touching and inspiring – and deepening and enriching our faith – so do that each time we come to read Your Holy Word – in Jesus Name.” Amen

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Biography Information:

Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!

Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.

Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.

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