Paul’s magnum opus. The most intense, in depth, in Christ declaration of the gospel that exists.
If today is your first day joining us at To Live Is Christ, then welcome, and you have picked a good day to jump in, as we will begin walking through this amazing letter together. At To Live is Christ we explore what our union with Christ means, while walking through the New Testament epistles chronologically (Galatians- 1 Corinthians- 2 Corinthians- and now Romans). So let’s jump in!
Romans 1:1-6. Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 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, 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, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
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.
See what I mean? Paul’s still saying hello and we already get some of the greatest statements about who Christ is and who we are in him.
Called to be saints.
BE not BECOME.
We are not called to become saints. We are made saints by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. There is no earning your sainthood. You don’t have to wait five years after you die. There’s no miracle count. No life of virtue discussion before it can happen. Why? Because it is all of grace. It is all of Christ. Are you saved? Then your a saint? A sinning saint I might add – even more grace!
There is truly nothing better in this world than to be under the grace of God. Union with Christ is what allows this eternal reality to seal your life with his. We belong to Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus that we have received grace. Because of this we are saints, recipients of the grace and peace of God by the gospel of God.
What is a saint? A saint is someone that has been sanctified or set apart by God and for God. In Catholicism, sainthood is about what you have done. But not in Paul’s gospel of God. It is about what God has done in Christ. Christ, the Son of David and the Son of God. Man and Deity. Raised in power by the Spirit of holiness. The Lord of all the earth. Giver of grace and peace.
In Jewish thinking in Paul’s day, they alone were God’s saints. The Hebrews were called by God, set apart to God, and made holy by God. But now Paul is calling this whole church (ALL) saints. Even Gentiles! Is that possible? It is in Christ.
So sainthood is our identity now. We are saints (set apart) because Jesus was a saint. He was set apart for the purpose of the salvation of creation, starting with humanity. He was set apart to be our substitute. He was set apart to become a flesh and blood man. He was set apart to be the firstborn of creation. He was set apart to be raised to new life.
And so now, in Christ, you are set apart. For what? To belong to Jesus, to receive his grace and peace, and to exercise the obedience of faith? Obedience that flows from faith. Faith that flows from grace.
And with that we have just summarized this whole letter and we have summarized “to live is Christ.”