"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle
and set apart for the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1)
There is a strange law in the Old Testament. It’s one of those easy to glance at and then forget as it is the guideline for freeing servants. At the surface level, it seems this has little impact today. Here’s the jest of the law.
If a Hebrew man or woman sold him/herself into slavery (most likely because of poverty or circumstances), the term of this agreement was six years. By law, in the seventh year, they were released. Here’s why...It served as a reminder to both parties that they were all slaves in Egypt but the Lord redeemed them (Deut. 15:15). Bottom line, He wanted them to be free.
This law also made provision for the servants. When released, they were liberally supplied from the master’s flock, threshing floor, and winepress (Deut. 15:13-14). The goal was that it was a win-win for both parties, as indentured servants were to be treated better than a hired hand.
Here’s the strange part, the law also gives instructions for when a person doesn’t want to be released. What? That’s crazy. If you are an indentured servant, why wouldn’t you want to leave when the time has been served?
Imagine hating Christians so much that the goal of your life is to put an end to their movement. Breathing murderous threats, you set off with the appropriate letters and travel far and wide to arrest anyone belonging to this dangerous movement.
But during this time, you come face to face with the resurrected Lord Jesus and the course of your life takes on a dramatic change. Preaching the same faith you once tried to destroy, your life’s accounts become epic stories of faith, your letters are widely read, and your insights become the topic of debate for centuries to come.
The Apostle Paul was the man responsible for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far reaches of the known world. What he taught was so radical that, even today, the followers of Jesus still strive for understanding.
The Book of Romans is a masterfully written exposition on God’s grace and the righteousness that comes by grace through faith. This book (a letter) is the foundation of the entire Christian faith. It was so radical that the Apostle Paul explains this gospel was received by direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11-12).
The truth contained in this letter had the power to transform a murderous Pharisee into the man we know as the Apostle Paul. It has greatly influenced men like Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Wesley, and it has profoundly affected my life as well.
If you want to know the Lord Jesus in an intimate personal way, this letter is for you!