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Romans 1:1 commentary and life application

Romans 1:1- Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

Paul opens his letter simply explaining who he is. This is an easy verse to gloss over, and if you did you would miss the theology and doctrine of this verse. Paul says he was CALLED to be an apostle and SEPARATED unto the gospel. Paul is making it very clear that it was God who put him into this office; it was not a choice of man. We see in the conversion of Paul that God had already planned what Paul would do for him and the ministry that God would put him into. In acts 9:15-16 Jesus speaks to Ananias and says,

“15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

This is a doctrine that is taught throughout the bible I will give you one Old Testament example and one New Testament example.

In Jeremiah chapter 1:5,

“5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

God tells Jeremiah that even before he was formed in his mother’s womb God had planned for him to be a prophet. Being a prophet was not a choice Jeremiah made he was called and separated unto it by God; in the same way that being an apostle and gospel minister was not something Paul chose on his own, God called him and separated him unto this office.

In the New Testament in Acts 13:2,

“2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”

Here we see God the Holy Spirit calling and separating Barnabas and Saul to a specific ministry.

Practical application-

We need to prayerfully consider the ministry that we feel called to. We must not try to thrust ourselves into positions God has not called and separated us to. Many people look at their talents and likes and decide what they will do for God without ever praying about it or seeking God’s will for their ministry. We have many pastors in pulpits today that are not called and anointed by God to be there but were educated in schools and taught how to be a good public speaker. They do not have the Spirit given understanding of the scriptures or the pastoral love for the flock that God gives through His Holy Spirit but instead depend on the traditions and talents of man. May we prayerfully consider where God would have us serve and desire to fulfill HIS will for our ministry and not our own desires.

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