Sunday, April 26, 2009

Introduction to the Book of Romans

Paul begins the letter to the Romans with a theologically robust introduction. Far beyond the "Dear So & So" of modern letters, Paul prefixes the epistle with a brief but complete description of who he (Paul) is to Christ, of who Christ is in general, and of who Christ is to the believer.

Who are You to Christ?

It is interesting that Paul didn't credential himself when addresses the saints at Rome. Surely with his education and experience, he could have made mention of his pre-conversion education. But instead, he describes himself only in terms of his relationship to the Lord.

Immediately, he makes himself low. He is a "bond-servant" to Jesus Christ. Make no mistake, among the Romans this was the role of a slave. The Greek δουλος may happily be translated "bond-slave". The Roman empire was an empire built on slavery, so the hearers of this letter would certainly be aware of the social status and responsibilities of the bond-servant. The bond-servant was an individual who's daily goal was not to do what he desired, but to accomplish the desires of his lord. Paul had made fulfilling the desires of Jesus the main focus of his life. Paul didn't wake up each morning and ask, "What do I want to do today?" Instead, he found focus asking, "What does my Lord Jesus Christ want me to do today?"

As born-again believers, we should follow the example of Paul and live our lives as bond-servants to Jesus. He is our Lord and Master and we are bound to his will. We should be willing to assume the humble position of a slave, and not let our own concerns compete with the accomplishment of God's will in our lives.

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