If you want a real blessing in your life, or a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit, go to Romans chapter 1: In this first verse, every word is significant and weighty.

The main theme of this book is to learn the correct way to be right with God – through faith in Jesus Christ – ‘righteousness’ – or to be right in the eyes of God.

The letter opens with the name of the writer – a familiar form at the time – and although it goes on to deal with important issues – there are greetings – from a brother in Christ – it has to be more than formal.

Paul was a ‘servant’ or ‘slave’ of Jesus Christ. Paul has been described as a religious aristocrat, a scholar who had gone to college, but now, he is not his, he was brought in for a price: the blood of Jesus Christ.

Slaves had no rights in the Roman Empire: of the 120 million inhabitants of the Roman Empire, 60 million were slaves.

Paul had renounced all his rights, to become a willing slave of Jesus Christ.

Paul had been brought up to seek the Messiah – and in this letter, Paul is telling the world – “I have found the Messiah, I have found the Christ.”

The only thing Saul of Tarsus, who was looking for the Messiah, needed to know was that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was alive. Circumstances were radically transformed, in Damascus, when that knowledge became part of his personal spiritual experience.

Better to be a slave to Jesus Christ than to be ‘slaves of sin’ – greed – drugs – alcohol – money – fragile temporary success – or whatever.

Paul was called. Not only did he receive the call of Jesus Christ, but he obeyed it, and he makes it clear that it is God who has called him, who motivated and inspired him. Paul introduces himself – and gives his credentials – because his wish is to go west to Spain – and have a base in Rome, just as he had it in Antioch.

We are called to belong, and we belong to obey.

He was an apostle – an envoy – the Latin root is missile – or missionary – but notice that Grace comes before Apostolate. Verse 5.

Paul was set apart, separated, someone who was different. We are different, separated from certain things, set apart for God’s will and God’s work.

We are separated by the Gospel of God – the good news of God – being right with God and being right with God – the good news of being forgiven – cleansed – born again, to eternal life and everlasting.

‘Set apart’ comes from the same root as ‘Pharisee’ – now, he was set apart for God.

‘Reserved for Jesus Christ’ – is the word that would be used if you were to go to a function and saw on a seat the sign – “Reserved”.

Paul was reserved for God.

He wanted to be used by God after that dramatic meeting in Damascus.

The word for servant – DOULOS – or more accurately translated ‘slave’ – is used more than 100 times in the New Testament – and it means – one who surrenders himself to the will of another. Jesus Christ uses the life and service of Paul to extend and advance the cause of Christ among men, dedicated to others, regardless of their own interests. ‘Doulos’ is a very strong word.

In verse 3 he writes about Jesus Christ our Lord – Lord means the slave owner – who had absolute authority over that person.

Today we hear a lot about ‘slaves’ and ‘slavery’.

The New Testament has a lot to say about slaves, and also about ‘Masters’.

God knew what was going on – He has something to say on this matter.

The Roman letter was recognized early in the Church, how significant and important it was to belief and doctrine. It is a fundamental document, which opens up so much Christian truth.

Romans is not a lecture from a teacher to his students, but from a pastor to people who matter to him spiritually, who wants to see his people grounded and founded on Christ, growing as mature disciples of Jesus Christ. Verses 11 and 12.

We hear today about what identifies us: ‘Black Lives’, ‘Climate change’, political alignment. Paul’s identity was to be ‘in Christ’ – ‘for me to live is Christ’.

Children ask, ‘what is this for?’, Even adults ask, ‘what is this for?’, But don’t go on asking, ‘What am I good for?’ Ask Paul, and the answer would come: “I belong to Christ.”

That explained Paul, as well as describing Paul, but keep in mind that he was not only a servant or slave of Jesus, but an apostle, called by God, loved by God.

Verse 6 – You are called to belong to Christ – beware – loved – protected – forgiven – knowing who you are in Christ, as you belong to Christ.

The Gospel is not new. We are not involved with something superficial – on the periphery of life – no – this is the Will of God for the salvation of man and humanity.

FF Bruce said, “Look, when you read and study the book of Romans, because you never know what’s going to happen.”

John Wesley was mentioned in our recent Bible reading notes. Romans played an important role in his conversion journey to true faith in Jesus Christ.

On May 24, 1738, the Anglican clergyman John Wesley, who had not yet converted, was in Aldersgate, London, that Sunday afternoon. The preacher was reading Martin

Luther’s Preface to the Book of Romans, when Wesley’s heart was strangely heated. John Wesley was converted. He never intended to leave the Church of England, but very rarely can an old formal system cope with the New Wine of the Holy Spirit, which God gives.

Take the book of Romans, read it, study it, at least read these first verses today, and then read on, you never know what can happen, you never know what the consequences may be.

“Almighty God, even as we read these first verses of Paul’s letter to the Romans, speak to us. Dear Jesus, move by your Holy Spirit and move our hearts and move our emotions and bend our wills, as you have done through the centuries. , as men and women have collected Your Holy Word, and suddenly the fire of loving discipleship is kindled. Hear our prayers and use us in this needy world. Amen “

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