Trust and Obey
Read Romans 1: 5 – 7
Because of Jesus we have received grace (God’s loving kindness) and apostleship (the dignity of an apostle of Christ) to bring about obedience of faith for God’s name sake to all nations… Through Jesus we have received God’s grace, we have obtained the right to become apostles of Christ (this is not something we deserve but through God’s loving kindness we have received it) and thus we walk in obedience of faith. Obedience and faith go hand in hand. We obey because of our faith in Jesus and not because we feel we “have to.” The word faith means the conviction of the truth of anything. In the NT it is a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things. Obedience should always accompany faith. Why? For God’s name sake. When we walk in obedience of faith we are glorifying God and bringing honor to the name of Christ.
The opposite of walking in obedience of faith (especially to the believer) is walking according to the flesh. When Christians act and walk according to obedience we are bringing glory to God and to all humanity. Moo writes, “Paul saw his task as calling men and women to submission to the lordship of Christ, a submission that began with conversion but which was to continue in a deepening, lifelong commitment… Paul called men and women to a faith that was always inseparable from obedience.”
The key for believers is not just obedience because we cannot truly be obedient to Christ without faith. The key is the obedience OF faith. Submitting to God’s way and proclaiming the lordship of Jesus in your life is what Paul is talking about here. It (obedience of faith) is only obtainable because of who Christ is and what he has done. Jesus, who is without beginning or end, took on the form of a man and experienced life on earth as a human. He gave his life up as an offering to God, rose from the dead and ascended to the Father so that all who believe in Jesus (faith) can have eternal life. Truly this is a God who is worthy to follow in obedience in faith.
  Moo, Douglas: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996,
The God Man
Read Romans 1:3 -6
In Romans 1:3 Paul establishes that the Messiah was descended from the seed of David according to the flesh. What does this mean? It means the Messiah would in fact be a human being born through the lineage of King David. The Bible backs this up...
In 2 Samuel 7:12 – 17 God promises the Messiah would come through King David’s lineage.
Isaiah 11:1 – 5 (One of the most well known prophecies concerning the Messiah) establishes that the Messiah would come through the line of David.
Jeremiah 23: 5 – 6 also promises the chosen one will come from the lineage of David.
Douglas Moo’s writes, “According to the flesh denotes being or living according to the merely human.” He continues, “The phrase here, then, while obviously far toward the neutral end of the spectrum, also suggests that we have not arrived at the full understanding of Jesus if we look at him from the standpoint of ‘the flesh’”
Moo is essentially saying that it is important for us to know that the Messiah (Jesus) was human, but his human(ness) did not merely qualify him to be Messiah it is only a part of the equation.
The Messiah would also be of divine origin. Jesus is not only the descendant of David but he is also the Son of God. He was “declared” the Son of God in the “power of the Holy Spirit”. Jesus was appointed the Son of God according to the Spirit and according to his resurrection. Being appointed does not mean the resurrection is what made him the Son of God.
According to Charles Hodge, “Christ was not predestined to be the Son of God. He was such from eternity.”  In other words Christ did not become the Son of God after he rose from the dead, he always has been the Son of God from eternity past and remains the son of God in the present and continues as the Son of God in the future.
This text simply implies that Jesus was publicly declared the Son of God through the resurrection. We now can accept, acknowledge and draw near to God because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is imperative to the Christian faith. Without it the plan of salvation is not complete.
Jesus is divine in nature or to be more specific is equal to God according to scripture. In John 5:17 – 31 Jesus calls God his Father and also claims equality to God. According to I John Jesus…
 Moo, Douglas: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996, p. 47
 Hodge, Charles: Romans- The Geneva Series of Commentaries. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust 1983, p.19
Who Are You?
Reread Romans 1: 1
In the opening sentences of Romans 1 Paul has no qualms defining who he is (a servant of Jesus Christ), his calling (an Apostle of Jesus) and his purpose (to be set apart for the sake of the Gospel). Paul is confident in who he is in Christ.
How do you respond when someone asks, “Who are you?” Many people respond with the obvious of stating their name. Some may respond by stating their occupation, marital status, or some things they enjoy in life. However the question is not, “What is your name, what do you do for a living or what do you like?” Instead it is who are you? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ may I offer some suggestions?
WHO ARE YOU?
This list is a clear and biblical (not necessarily complete) view of who you are in Christ. Man has not defined this for you but God has. As believers we ought to have the same view of ourselves and others as God views us . When we start seeing each other in ways God sees us then we will start treating one another differently. We will speak kindly of one another, we will serve one another in love; we will respect and value other individuals as a whole.
Read Romans 1: 1 – 7
In Romans 1:1-7 there are three key phrases that jump out at me and they are “a servant of Jesus Christ”, “called to be an Apostle” and “set apart for the gospel of God”. It is interesting and noteworthy that Paul first and foremost describes himself as a servant of Christ. He immediately tells us he is not a great and mighty theologian who is to be revered; instead he is a servant (his position) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Greek word for servant is Duolous which means a “slave” or a “bondman”. A servant is one who is devoted to the disregard of one’s own interest. He is a servant or a slave to Jesus and his desire is to please the master and not the masses. (Read Galatians 1:10)
Paul is also “called to be an Apostle”. One who is “called to be an Apostle” is one who is divinely selected by decree of God to be a delegate or a messenger. He is not a self appointed Apostle. He is appointed by God. This calling is Paul’s ongoing service. He needs to establish his authority. His calling is also an affirmation that what he is doing is done by the appointment of God.
As a Pastor I take great comfort in my divine calling. I have a quote framed on my wall that I love from J. Oswald Sanders, “The sovereign selection of God gives great confidence to Christian workers. We can truly say, ‘I am here neither by selection of an individual nor election of a group, but by the almighty appointment of God.” God’s calling not only applies to Paul but it also applies to you, me and to who serve God faithfully.
Paul is “set apart for the Gospel of God”. Acts 13:2 tells us that Paul was appointed or set apart for the purpose of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Gospel (or the Good News) was delivered by the prophets of the Holy Scripture. This Gospel was promised since the beginning of time. The Gospel is the message and hope of the Old Testament, all prophets and the forefathers of faith as they anticipated the fulfillment of the promise foretold to them 1,000’s of years before they came to pass in Christ.
The title of the New Testament “book” of Romans pretty much defines itself. It is a letter written to the Roman church. The letter was written by the Apostle Paul on his third missionary journey (probably from Corinth) as he was heading back to Jerusalem with the money he had collected from the Gentile churches around Asia to take back to the Church in Judea.
It is not 100% certain if Paul was writing this letter to just the Gentile Christians in Rome or just the Jewish Christians in Rome or both. There is evidence for both so many have concluded that he probably wrote this letter to both Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome. It is also believed that the Jewish Christians living in Rome started this Church (possibly after Pentecost) and as the Gospel was made available to Gentiles through the teaching of Paul (throughout Asia and surrounding areas) they became part of this body. Some have suggested that there was a slight tension between these Jews and Gentiles in Rome so this letter was intended to bring unity to these two groups.
The letter of Romans has been described as the fullest extent of Paul’s theology but certainly not necessarily his complete theology. There are many themes throughout this letter so it is difficult to pinpoint one in particular. If I had to choose one theme it would be “the Gospel”.
The ESV Study Bible says, “A closer look at Romans reveals another purpose as well. Paul wanted the Christians in Rome to rally around his gospel so that Rome would become the base of operations by which he could proclaim the gospel in Spain (15:22–24). If Roman Christians did not agree with Paul's gospel message, especially on the issues being debated among Jews and Gentiles, then they would not support his proposed mission to Spain. Paul needed to explain the gospel in some detail so that the Christians in Rome would become the base from which he could proclaim the gospel in new regions.”
Paul had never been to Rome. The book of Acts tells us that Paul does eventually make it to Rome, but as a prisoner (He appeals to Caesar) who was free to roam (pun intended) and preach the Gospel.
  Moo, Douglas: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996, p. 4
"And he looked around at them in anger, grieved at their hardness of heart.”
Read: Mark 3: 1 – 19
In this passage Jesus has just performed an awesome miracle by healing a man with a withered hand. This should have been a time of great rejoicing and praising God for his healing works. Unfortunately this was not the case. The healing, unfortunately was another opportunity for Jesus’ critics to accuse him of not following the rules.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ time are so frustrating. They are so focused on keeping outward laws and morality that they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. They were too busy nitpicking Jesus’ actions that they missed God among them. This obviously frustrated Jesus because he became angry and saddened because of their “hardness of heart.” These leaders were missing the point altogether. Jesus, the chosen Messiah, was in their midst and he had compassion on a man who was deformed and healed him. I am pretty sure the man could have cared less that it was the Sabbath and that Jesus was breaking the law. He was healed! Praise God! Not so with the religious zealots.
We humans are like these religious leaders to often. So many have turned Christianity into a religion of rules and regulation are missing the point altogether. They so easily throw grace, compassion and forgiveness out the window in order to keep the rules and regulations, but the reality is sometimes we need to break the rules* to do what God wants us to do.
What do I mean? Many are quick to condemn and criticize those who are different from us (whether it be socially, culturally, sexually or theologically) that we lose focus as to what Jesus commands of us. Jesus commands his children to love people. He doesn’t command us to only love those who think, talk and act like us. No, we are to love as Christ would love. This is why they Gospel is imperative to us all.
The Gospel brings to light to the fact that we are all sinful. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. However, God in his great love laid down his life and made a way for us to have life as well. We don’t deserve it. We are not entitled to it… but God gives it to all who believe. When I take this to heart and fully understand the Gospel it helps me realize that since God granted grace to me, I should grant grace to others. Now whenever I encounter others seem different from me (socially, culturally, sexually and even theologically) I try not to have a hard heart with them and I try to extend grace because I believe this is what Jesus would do.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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