Thursday, December 15

Called According to Paul: Romans 1:1-7

An explanation of this series of posts can be found here. You'll find the previous four posts in the series here, here, here and here.

The passage under inspection in this post is the introductory or greeting paragraph from Paul's letter to the Romans. The word "called" is used three times--once referring to Paul himself, and in the other two cases, referring to certain believers.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 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, 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, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

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. (ESV)

  • In the first verse, Paul says that he has been called to be an apostle. We saw him say this very same thing in 1 Corinthians 1. This usage of the word carries a strong sense of a summons or appointment, and this sense is made even stronger by the following phrase: "set apart for the gospel of God." This call is an appointment to a particular office or role, and it sets Paul apart from other followers of Christ.

  • In verse 6, Paul says that the Gentile people he is called to bring the obedience of faith (or the gospel) to includes the specific believers in Rome that he is writing this letter to, and they are the ones "who are called to belong to Jesus Christ." This calling is a summons into something as well--into the group of people who belongs to Christ. (In I Corinthians 1:9 the idea is similar.)

  • In verse 7, we see the close association between being loved by God and being called by him. This calling results from God's love for particular people. It is because they are loved by God that they are called to be saints. The calling is to something--to be saints, or to be holy. This, too, is a calling that sets people apart.

    Once again, I'll ask what you see that I missed. What can you see in this passage about the meaning of the word called when it is used by Paul in regards to the call of God? What does your magnifying glass detect?
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