Knowing Your Calling in Life Brings Success—Romans 1:1

I find it interesting that Paul not only knew his calling but also understood that he was set apart for the gospel of God.

David wrote something similar in Psalms 139,

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
( Psalm 139:13-16 )

The call of Jeremiah came in much the same way...

4 "The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
( Jeremiah 1: 4-5 )

And of course let's not forget Jesus... Jesus had just returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit shortly after his run in with Satan in the desert where Satan tempted him. Jesus returned to Nazareth, where he grew up and went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and choose to read this passage concerning himself from the prophet Isaiah.

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
( Isaiah 61:1-2 )

Then what does Jesus say in Luke 4?

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." ( Luke 4:20-21 )

Here are four counts of a calling and recognition of what God had ordained for His good purpose from the moment of their conception.

Paul understood this when he said that he ‘was called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.'

These men knew and understood their calling and purpose and because of it they were able to move forward with what the Lord had ordained for them in the first place. Purpose, passion and direction marking their success -

Now Paul considered himself the chief sinner and we are very familiar with how he persecuted the church and hunted down Christians. But in Romans 1:1 he confesses that he is a servant of Christ Jesus - in some translations literally a slave of Christ ordained or set apart from the very beginning for the exclusive purpose of the gospel. Set apart to preach ‘the almost too good to be true news' of Jesus Christ.

Now Paul is laying the ground work for the amazing things he will be writing about in the book of Romans. How he was set apart for this gospel and what this gospel of Jesus entails, but to reflect and recognize that even though Paul was known throughout the early church as a persecutor of the brethren after his conversion is where he says, that he was set apart for the gospel - meaning called, ordained and appointed from birth.

Understanding ones calling and purpose in life will save a lot of heart ache along the way -

In the four examples that I've shared, all of these men knew their purpose along the way, who knew that God saw and knew them from the beginning lived with the ending in mind to the Glory of God.

David was called, ‘a man after God's own heart...'

Jeremiah was a prophet to the nations, just like the Lord had said he would be...

And what can we say about Jesus? Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Jesus defeated sin and death and he redeemed that which was lost when sin entered into the world. Jesus saves all who believe in him to the Glory of the Father because God sent him as a propitiation for our sins. And Jesus fulfilled the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘he has proclaimed the year of the Lords favor"

In the same way Paul knew and understood that he was set apart for the gospel and because of it Paul and His friends evangelized the known world of that time.

What a difference you and I can make when we understand these principals... First that God knows and loves us and created us with a purpose and a plan right from the beginning. Secondly, when we seek him and understand what the plan is, then we will be successful. Third, when we operate in what the Lord has called us to do, this is truly when we will find contentment and overflow with joy in life...

I will leave you with the Prophet Jeremiah in closing, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD" ( Jeremiah 29:11-14 )

May God bless you and show you the purpose he has for your life 

God's Promise Was Delivered—Romans 1:2

"...the gospel he promised before hand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures..." (Romans 1:2)

All the writings of the Old Testament, all the law and all the prophets foretell of the gospel of God or good news of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the epicenter of history past and history future. It is not by accident that Paul starts off this brilliant expose to the Romans with the claim that this good news is one and the same of which the prophets had been foretelling for centuries.

Many marvel and are caught off guard concerning this - many believe that the new covenant or good news of Jesus came about because God just got feed up with the first system of laws and sacrifices and decided to do something entirely new and different. But the truth of the matter is that this was always the plan, the plan before creation, the plan before man and the plan before fall. In fact it is Peter who tells us in I Peter chapter 1, that it is "not with perishable things such as silver or god that you were redeemed from an empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the World, but was revealed in the last times for your sake" ( I Peter 1:18-20 ). Peter clearly teaches us that Jesus was chosen to bear the penalty of our sin before that sin existed. That is why God told the serpent in the garden, "he will crush (or strike) your head, and you will strike his heel" ( Genesis 3:15 ). Right after sin entered into the world, God told Satan that there was one coming or there was one already on the way to undo what he did, and that was Jesus!

Mankind's sin in no means caught God off guard. This didn't send the Lord back to the drawing board trying to figure out another plan after the first one had been foiled. No, Peter says that Jesus was the Lamb chosen before the foundation of the world! And Paul is telling us in the beginning of Romans that this gospel is what was promised before hand through the entire Holy Scriptures. This is the good news of the grace of God to which he was called to be an apostle.

God wasn't doing something new because he got feed up with the first system. Hebrews says that the law was types and shadows of what was to come ( Hebrews 10:1 ). Meaning the law always pointed towards Jesus, the law brought about the conscience of sin indicating the need for a Savior. This Savior is in the person of Jesus Christ and through faith in His blood which he offered for the sins of the entire world ( Hebrews 9:28, I John 2:2 ). For those who believe, this grace is a sweet and precious gift. Sins are completely covered and completely paid for through the redemption that came through Christ's atoning blood.

This was always the plan, this was always the way and this good news is what the prophets foretold and promised through the Holy Scriptures. And this good news is what Paul was set apart for. This good news is what will save us and give us abundant life if we believe those prophets and Paul and believed in Jesus as our Savior, to the Glory of God.

Jesus the Descendant of David—Romans 1:3

"...regarding his son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David..." (Romans 1:3)

The gospel was promised by God through the Holy Scriptures regarding His son Jesus. Paul is starting to build his case and it is not by chance that the starts with the fact that Jesus was a descendant of David, by his human nature. He does this to engage the Jewish reader and to support the claim that in fact the Good News of the Messiah has come. The Jews wouldn't be able to receive any of this information without first recognizing that Jesus' blood line was one and the same as the promised Messiah.

This is also a very important piece of information to us as gentiles because when we look at the full spectrum of the scriptures both old and new it is important for us to compare all the evidence of Jesus against the prophecies of the promised Messiah. Paul knows this is a prophecy of the scriptures and on that needs to come to pass if Jesus was in fact the Messiah or Christ.

One obvious place to look for the prophecy is Isaiah 9; if you grew up in a church or merely went to services on Christmas then this scripture should be familiar to you.

6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

( Isaiah 9:6-7 )

This is an obvious prophecy of the Messiah and one which foretells that the Christ will reign on David's throne. Now we are well aware of the fact that to reign on the throne of a king one must be a blood descendant.

The height of Israel's royal kingdom was during the reign of King David and King Solomon and Isaiah said that the Messiah would ‘reign on David's throne and over all his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with Justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.' So to be the Messiah who could accomplish this it would be important that the Christ was of David actual blood line.

God also promised David that his kingdom would be established forever. II Samuel 7:16 says, ‘Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.' This was all part of God's promise to David and this promise is also recorded in II Chronicles 17:14, "I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.' And lastly it is David who wrote about this promise from God in Psalm 132, "Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one." ( Psalm 132: 17 ) Here the word horn symbolizes strong one, that is king... and the ‘anointed one' is common as a descriptor for the Christ throughout the Old Testament.

So throughout the Old Covenant it is apparent that the Messiah would come through the bloodline of King David. And if you flip over to the beginning of the New Testament the written record of Matthew's gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus...

"A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham..." ( Matthew 1:1 ) As you read through the genealogy you will see that this genealogy records Jesus' ancestry through Jesus' earthly father Joseph and that ancestry was traced through the royal line of David and King Solomon. "And Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."

Matthew clearly writes to a Jewish audience, so the lineage traced through the father confirming the royal bloodline of King David would be important to them when deciding if Jesus was the Messiah.

Now, if you look at Luke's account of the genealogy of Jesus, you are going to see a completely different genealogy of Jesus, you are going to see a completely different genealogy. But his ancestry is also traced back to King David, but is trace back through one of David's other sons, Nathan. Luke who wrote this gospel was not Jewish so tracing the lineage back to King David through Joseph the earthly father wouldn't have been important to him. What would have been important to him was to record accurately the account of Jesus, which was the declaration at the beginning of His letter, "Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilius, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." ( Luke 1:3-4 )

Luke's focus and purpose was to record accurately the account of Jesus' ancestry to us, who are not Jewish, so we could see and understand how Jesus descended from David thus fulfilling the Messianic prophecies concerning the Christ coming from the line of David.

Luck gives us one other important piece of evidence here in his writings... Luke 3:23 says, "now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph." First he gives this little disclaimer that it was thought that Jesus was the son of Joseph and then launches into a completely different genealogy then that of Matthews account.

So at first glance, this seems to contradict itself, but upon further study and reflection we see that Luke's attention to detail actually adds to the fullness of the fulfilled prophecy because Luke actually gives us Jesus' ancestry through his Mother Mary, which her ancestry can also be traced back to King David and since Jesus was not of his earthly father's bloodline it was necessary to trace his bloodline to King David through his mother Mary.

So Paul knows the importance of his for both the Jews and the gentiles that is why he starts out the book of Romans assuring his readers that Jesus was the promised ‘Good News' foretold about in the scriptures through the prophets and in accordance to His human nature, he was a descendant of David, thus fulfilling scripture and prophecies about the Christ or Messiah.

The Spirit of Power—Romans 1:4

"…and who thorough the Spirit of Holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord…" (Romans 1:4)

I heard a preacher recently say that for God's Word to manifest itself in your lives you need both the Word and the Spirit to be successful. The book of John starts out by saying, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." Now we understand the Word to be Jesus and we see this all through out the scriptures that Jesus is called the Word and that the Word was flesh - it was God living and interacting in the physical realm.

It is not surprising that Paul starts out the book of Romans telling us that Jesus was a descendant of David, and we have recently discussed the importance of this truth. But since we understand our Lord Jesus to be both physical in body and spiritual in mind and Spirit it is of the utmost importance to understand that Jesus' resurrection from the dead by the Spirit of holiness to be the pinnacle of history and the absolute proof that Jesus was who he claimed to be - The Son of God.

Going back to our account in the book of John, we see some important truths starting in vs. 10, "He was in the world and though the world was made through him the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who receive him to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Children born not of natural descent nor human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the father full of grace and truth." ( John 1:10-14 )

So we have the Word, who was God and who is God and who created all things and who came in human form to break the curse of the law and to redeem that which the kingdom of darkness acquired during the fall of man... and he was in human form.

Now our Jesus was crucified and lay in the grave and at that point the penalty of sin had been paid for - Jesus shed his blood to atoned for the sins of the entire world once for all, past present and future. Hebrews talks about this in chapter 7, verse 27, "Unlike the other high priest, he (Jesus) does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. He sacrifices for their sins once for all when he offered himself." This is imperative to understand that Jesus paid the penalty for sin once for all - But it is only through his resurrection from the dead that he took the position of High Priest before God and entered into the heavenly tabernacle to present His blood on the mercy seat. Starting in verse 28 of Hebrews 7, it goes on to talk about this when it says, "For the law appoints as high priest men who are weak. But the oath which came after the law appointed the Son who has been made perfect forever. The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a High Priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven and who serves in the sanctuary; the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man" ( Hebrews 7:27 - Hebrews 8:2 ) this is why it is both the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus that gives us assurance of Faith.

Now Paul is stressing this point in the beginning of Romans, when he said, it was through the Spirit of Holiness that Jesus was raised from the dead and this demonstration of power is the proof that he was the Son of God! It goes back to what that preacher said, you need both the Word and the Spirit to manifest the truth that is God's Word. The Word was prophesied and spoken over thousands of years until that which was spoken came to pass by the movement of the Spirit and to the obedience of those the Word was spoken to, thus fulfilling the Word. The Word fulfilled itself by the demonstration of Power by the Holy Spirit in that and of the person of Jesus Christ who is the Son of God both in the physical and in the spiritual realm.

All For His Name Sake—Romans 1:5

"...Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obdience that comes from faith" (Romans 1:5)

Recently at work, we have been conceiving a name for a new business endeavor. As we embark upon this task it is proving extremely difficult. We want a name that embodies our business philosophy, describes our services and provides insight both to what we value and to what we will deliver. We want our name to summarize who we are because a name says everything...

The same is true for our mission and calling as Christians. The name we have been given says everything. In Philippians 2, Paul tells us that God was so pleased with Jesus' redemptive work and so completely satisfied with His atonement for our sin that He gave Jesus the 'name above every name'. As Christians we also partake in the benefits of the association with that name. We are called Christians because our foundation and faith is built upon Jesus our rock and chief cornerstone. The name we bear says everything...

Grace is a beautiful thing and it is for Jesus' name's sake alone that we received it. Grace is unmerited, unearned favor and kindness. It is not something we can obtain on our own and It pleased Him and glorified Him to grant this grace to us when he redeemed us.

When we receive this grace we also received a commission to proclaim this good news and free gift to people everywhere. This mission is not an obligation but a privilege to glorify the very name that we have been called and saved by. Calling people from all walks of life into this new and living way of life stems from obedience to the word of faith we have heard, in accordance to the power and purpose of the name of Jesus.

Even as our new business name embodies everything we hold dear, the name of Jesus encompasses who we are and our purpose and mission of this life. Recognizing and calling upon the name of Jesus is the single most important thing you can do in life. Today, if you have never believed in, adhered to or trusted in that name, I pray that you will call upon it and receive the same grace of the many saints who came and called before you. Amen.

Juli Camarin

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