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Set Apart for the Gospel—Romans 1:1

Set Apart for the Gospel—Romans 1:1

"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 you are an indentured servant, why wouldn’t you want to leave when the time has been served?
 

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?

Here’s the law's provision, in the seventh year, if the man or woman chooses to stay with the master because of their love for each other, the master takes an awl and pierces the servant’s earlobe. This signifies a lifelong arrangement (Deut. 15:16-17). It was an expression of deep love and devotion by the freed person in response to the kindness of the master.

Paul opens the Book of Romans with this powerful statement, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus..." (Rom. 1:1a). The Greek word for servant is doulos, literally meaning bondservant as described in Deuteronomy. Paul declares himself a lifelong slave of Jesus Christ. His opening statement acknowledges he has submitted himself into the master’s service in response to God’s goodness, kindness, and grace.


This beautiful illustration from the Old Testament can be true for us today!
 

This is a powerful illustration of the true heart of the gospel. Our response to Christ when gaining insight into His grace should be that of Paul. We willingly enter into relationship with Him as a bondservant. No obligation, no pressure, and not because it’s what we should do, but it wholeheartedly comes in response to an understanding and appreciation of Jesus.

Only in this context could Paul exclaim that he, the former persecutor of the Church, was set apart from birth to preach the gospel of Jesus (Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:15). He saw the depths of God's grace and knew that he was ordained to bring this good news to the world.

This beautiful illustration from the Old Testament can be true for us today. If we find our sole purpose in Christ. Then the entire Christian life can be lived in response to God’s goodness. The more we know Him and the depth of His love for us, then the more we can willingly exclaim that we are bondservants of Christ, set apart for the good news that sets the world free.

Previous: Introduction to Romans  Next: Romans 1:2

Original article published April 30, 2009.

Romans

God's Amazing Story of Relentless Grace!

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 and has changed the hearts of many as they read and understand the wonderful truths nestled inside. Get an in-depth verse by verse explanation of this book...

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Colossians

Christ In You, The Hope of Glory

Colossians is short book, written by the Apostle Paul to the Church in Colosse. Paul writes about the mystery of God hidden for ages but now revealed to the Church. This mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory (vs. 1:27). Paul explains what this means and how this changes the way we live. Get an in-depth explanation of this book.

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Hebrews

Jesus Changed Everything!

The book of Hebrews is the bridge that connects the Old Testament & the New. This book is about Jesus and how He is the guarantee of a NEW & BETTER covenant. Get an in-depth verse by verse explanation of this book...

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Kingdom

The Teachings of Jesus

Jesus spent His entire earthly ministry talking about the Kingdom and explaining it to His disciples. The Gospels are full of Kingdom Principles for believers to operate in on a daily basis. Join me for this amazing journey through the Gospels and the teachings of Jesus.

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  • About Juli Camarin

    About Juli Camarin

    I’m passionate about Jesus, His Word, living in His grace,
    using technology and creating beautiful things.
    But mostly my passion is about spreading the
    gospel of Jesus to a world that needs Him.

       

    about Juli Camarin

  • About Juli Camarin 2

    About Juli Camarin

    I’m passionate about Jesus, His Word, living in His grace,
    using technology and creating beautiful things.
    But mostly my passion is about spreading the
    gospel of Jesus to a world that needs Him.

       

    about Juli Camarin

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