2/16/2008

The Gospel in Romans part 1

This is a short Bible study lesson I wrote this week. Going to check Henry Mahan out on Romans one, and maybe make changes if I am more instructed by his study here:
http://www.sovereign-grace.com/13throm/13thidxrom.htm

Here is my study:

Romans Chapter One (Verses 1-7)

Text

Romans 1:1-7, ESV:

Paul, a servant [Or slave; Greek bondservant] 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.


Study Notes



Verse 1:

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus…” The word translated “servant” always means “slave” or “doulos” in Greek. If Paul calls himself a slave, what is he telling us about himself in this introduction? What is a slave? What does a slave do? What rights does a slave have? [Note: in the ancient Roman and Greek cultures, slavery was a common part of life. The Bible speaks of reality, and slavery was and is a reality of our sinful, fallen world.] So Paul calls himself a slave of King Jesus. Jesus bought him with a price (1 Cor. 6:20), the price of his own precious blood (1 Peter 1:19). This shows the amazing love of Christ, in that he would die to purchase his own enemies and win their hearts by grace. In other words, Paul was owned by Jesus. God rescued Paul from the dark slavery of Satan and freed him to become a willing slave of Christ (see Exodus 21:5,6). Paul lived for one purpose, to serve the Lord Jesus Christ whole-heartedly, just as a bond-slave would for his own master. Paul gave up all his rights to the Lordship of Christ Jesus. What do you think it means to submit yourself to the Lordship of Christ as a willing slave? Who owns you? If Christ owns you, then you belong to God.


“Called to be an apostle…” What does it mean to be “called”? You could say, “Somebody called me on the phone today.” In what other ways can you be “called”? “Called into the office” – means you were summoned there. What do we mean when we say, “I was called to be a doctor”? Or, “I’m called to serve in Africa”? This phrase means that Paul was divinely selected, picked out by God to be an apostle – not because of anything in Paul (he hated Jesus before he believed), but because God had chosen and appointed him to that special task. This was God’s calling on his life.


“Set apart for the gospel of God…” This means that God chose for Paul to serve Christ by preaching the gospel. Galatians 1:15,16 says, “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles,…” So we see from Galatians 1:15 that God set Paul apart for the gospel before he was born. That is Sovereign election, or predestination. Verse 16 says that God called him by his grace and revealed his Son in him, in order that he would preach Christ to the Gentiles. That is an irresistible and effectual call. God called him and enabled him to obey the call by grace. Paul was not some self-made preacher. He wasn’t going around talking about some new ideas. But he belonged to King Jesus as a slave, was called, chosen before birth and set apart for this commission of preaching the good news of God to the Gentiles. That is why Paul was born. That is why he came into existence. This letter of Romans is not Paul’s nice ideas or interpretations, but the very gospel of God! Paul is a servant, or bond-slave for the purpose of proclaiming the good news of God.


Verse 2:

which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,…” This gospel is not something new. When did God promise this gospel would come? How did he promise it? What important aspects of the Bible do we learn from this verse? Does your Bible say on the cover "The Holy Bible"? Notice that the word "holy" is referring to the Scriptures. That is why we call these sacred writings, "the Holy Bible," or "the Holy Book." They are "holy," because they contain the very promises and words of God.


Verse 3:

concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh…” Who is the subject of this gospel? What important things do we learn about Jesus from this verse? Who was David? See what God promised David in 1 Chronicles 17:7,11-14. This verse describes the fulfillment of that promise God made to David. The Jews all knew about this promise and had been waiting for it to come to pass. Jesus is God's Son, and so He is one with God in His divine nature. But He also is "flesh," or human. So we have God and flesh in one Person, our Savior Christ Jesus. Christ is the gospel!


Verse 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,…” How was Jesus “declared” to be the Son of God? What does it mean to “declare” something? What is the involvement of the Spirit in this verse? Notice the reference to the trinitarian nature of God, "Son of God", means God is the Father. Also notice the reference to the "Spirit of holiness" and "Jesus Christ" as the Son. This verse reveals something important about the gospel, it refers to the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Whose “Lord” is Jesus Christ said to be?


Verse 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,…” Verse 5 again reveals where the authority for this gospel letter comes from. Notice the words, “through whom...” It also reveals the purpose of Paul’s commission. Notice the words, “to bring about the obedience of faith…” Paul’s authority as an apostle comes directly from the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason is to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations. Notice for whose sake this is done? Is any group of people excluded from this mission?


Verse 6:

including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,…” Including you! You who? You “who are called”! Called to belong to Whom? Remember what Paul described himself as? A “doulos” (in Greek), or “slave of Christ Jesus.” That meant that Jesus owned Paul. How about you? Have you been called to belong to Jesus Christ as your Lord? Do you willingly own Jesus as your Lord and Master?


Verse 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.” Here is the reason this letter is given the title Romans. Notice who it is addressed to, “To all those in Rome.” What is said about those in Rome in this verse? What is a “saint”? Who are they that are called to be saints? Grace and peace are a blessing Paul includes many times when addressing Christians in his letters. Notice who the blessing is from, “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”


Conclusion

After looking closer at verses 1-7, what is important to know about the letter of Romans as you begin to read it? What are some significant things revealed about Jesus in these verses? How may this introduction also be addressed to you, just as it was to the Romans?

1 comment:

desiringgod said...

Hi Penn
I find interesting the way you try to explain called. According to the traditional Calvinism to be "called" is more than a vocational desire like been called to go to Africa. Being called from a Calvinistic point of view is something you can't say no. Gods call is effective just like when Jesus called Lazarous "Lazarous come forth" The death could not say no to his called and actually came forth. I learned this from Piper. Not even a called like a physical drive like to breath. We feel a great desire to breath but we can decide not to beath and then die. Calvinistic God's call is more like a nail growth. We can't choose to stop the growing of our mails. They will just keep on growing we can't help it. So when God calls you will follow. Does it sound like a being a puppet? This is a question I have asked myself. This is one reason I am not clear on Traditional Calvinism.