— by Pastor Temilolu Oluwasijuwomi
The book Romans was definitely written to mostly Roman converts as well as Jews who had emigrated to Rome at the time Just like many Nigerians in the USA today. Something however caught my attention in verse 1. Researching further, I discovered Paul used the word Servant more times in the book Romans than in any other book he wrote. Either in reference to himself and Christ, himself and others, the believer and sin or while referring to other believers. 11 times to be precise.
I know most of us like to refer to ourselves as heirs of God, brothers of Christ, Sons and Daughters of God; which is actually true in every way, but why would Paul rather refer to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ?
In the book of Romans Paul explains extensively the Gospel, in the following progression:
1. That the whole world including the Jews were guilty before God.
2. That the Gospel of Grace is the Remedy for this guilt that the world has been plunged into.
3. That justification can ONLY come through the Righteousness of God in which the recipients of the Gospel MUST only believe in..
There are other issues raised and dealt with in the book of Romans, however, the above are the broad sub topics that the scope of my review from chapter 1 to 4 will cover.
So Paul does not throw away the truth of his sonship but carries the consciousness of servanthood for the sake of commitment to service.
Should a believer also see himself as a servant of Jesus Christ? The Muslims do not see themselves as sons. However, We are sons but choose to make ourselves servants for in that sense, we carry on a greater sense of Responsibility.
Check this out 1Cor. 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
Understanding this helps to understand Chapter 1 vs 16. Paul is not loyal to the Jews but to Christ. He is under compulsion to proclaim the Gospel of Grace and Establish his disciple in the same.
Is there anything honorable about being a servant? This possibly explains why his commitment to the Gospel of Grace is unparalleled. Being a servant, the believer also ought to be separated to the Gospel of God: which is totally about Christ from start to finish.
Pastor Damilola has expounded on verse 7 which also caught my attention. The believer carries upon himself the commission to serve and not to be lord over others. He sees only one Lord; Jesus Christ. He does not see himself as shoulders higher than any other. He conducts himself with the attitude of servanthood, to Christ and to the brethren. Paul’s attitude of servanthood ought to be emulated by all who belong to Christ.
Every believer ought to put on the apparel of the servant of Christ and by so doing, perpetually subjecting ourselves to the instructions of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
From this purpose, we can understand the spiritual gifts he was referring to. Ye may be established. Their establishment was his aim. Not that he will be worshipped or be a god to them like some have made themselves. That is, that they might be “confirmed” in the truths of the gospel. This was one design of the ministry, that Christians may be established, or strengthened, Eph 4:13. It is not to have dominion over their faith, but to be “helpers of their joy,” 2Cor. 1:24.
Paul did not doubt that this part of his office might be fulfilled among the Romans, and he was desirous there also of making full proof of his ministry. His wish was to preach not simply where he must, but where he might. This is the nature of this work.
Another part that caught my attention was verse 11
11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
It is important to understand this, because some believe that a certain ‘big’ man of God only has to lay hands on them for them to walk in the same giftings as the man. Some even go as far struggling for the chairs of this men and so many other aberrations to the Gospel in the name of impartation
A few questions that popped up in my mind were:
1. Did Paul have to be there physically for them to be imparted with spiritual gifts?
2. What spiritual gifts is he talking about?
3. Are the gifts similar to the ones in 1 Cor. 12?
Let’s see how Barnes explains this
Some have understood this as referring to “miraculous gifts,” which it was supposed the apostles had the power of conferring on others. But this interpretation is forced and unnatural. There is no instance where this expression denotes the power of working miracles. Besides, the apostle in the next verse explains his meaning, “That I may be comforted together by the mutual faith,” etc. From this it appears that he desired to be among them
1. to exercise the office of the ministry,
2. to establish them in the gospel and
3. to confirm their hopes.
He expected that the preaching of the gospel would be the means of confirming them in the faith; and he desired to be the means of doing it.
It was a wish of benevolence, and accords with what he says respecting his intended visit in Rom 15:29, “And I am sure that when I come, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.”
To make known to them more fully the blessings of the gospel, and thus to impart spiritual gifts, was the design he had in view.
In 1Cor. 12 the gifts of the spirit are dispensed by the Holy Spirit as he wills, but the spiritual gifts being referred to here is the Gospel and the blessings that come with it: which Paul further builds on in the book of Romans.
In verse 14, is it not beautiful that Paul sees himself as a debtor to all who are in need of the Gospel of Grace. Will it not be good if we also see ourselves as debtors to those who have not enjoyed this living spring? That this passion translates into our support of the Gospel in cash and in kind.
Just like Paul, we are debtors to not only unbelievers but to believers as well who though are saved, but not established in this present truth. In verse 16 Paul climax’s his beautiful introduction to the book of Romans with a powerful declaration of the summary of the whole book.
The Bible student may just stop at this point, read further and then come back to these two verses in verse 16 and 17. So we see that Paul was passionate about the Gospel of Grace; just like we organise conferences around the country and subsequently around the world.
We ought to carry the passion Paul had for the Romans that though they were believers, he would not stop ministering to them until they were established in the Gospel of Grace. This is the purpose of the Spiritual gift (Gospel of Grace) that he wanted them to be established in.
So, if Paul was running his ministry today, he wouldn’t have needed to visit them physically. He just would have created forums like what we have on this WhatsApp group in GOG where everyone is established in the Gospel of Grace by the sharing of the word from Pastor Dami and the rest of us.
Highlights of the verse are though stated
1. Not ashamed
2. There is “something” that may be shameful about the Gospel of Christ.
3. Yet, the Gospel is the Power of God.
4. The power of God: not only to the Jews, but to EVERYONE.
5. Though this gospel is available to everyone. Everyone has the responsibility to BELIEVE
1. You can’t be righteous outside the Gospel of Grace.
2. You can’t start with faith and end in works: it has to be from FAITH TO FAITH
Let’s talk about SALVATION (Scofield)
3. healing, and
Salvation is the great inclusive word of the Gospel, gathering into itself all the redemptive acts and processes: as
7. sanctification, and
These are all covered in the book of Romans.
Salvation is in three tenses:
(1) The believer has been saved from the guilt and penalty of sin Luke 7:50; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 2:15; Eph 2:5; Eph 2:8; 2 Timothy 1:9 and is safe.
(2) the believer is being saved from the habit and dominion of sin Romans 6:14; Philippians 1:19; Phil 2:12; Phil 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 8:2; Gal 2:19; Gal 2:20; 2 Corinthians 3:18
(3) The believer is to be saved in the sense of entire conformity to Christ. Romans 13:11; Hebrews 10:36; 1 Peter 1:5; 1 John 3:2
Salvation is by grace through faith, is a free gift, and wholly without works ; Rom 3:27; Rom 3:28; 4:1-8 ; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8
The divine order is: first salvation, then works; Eph 2:9; Eph 2:10; Titus 3:5-8.