Sons, Servants & Saints

Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first chapter of this New Testament epistle. “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: by whom we have received grace the apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-7).

 

            “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit. In the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; making request,  if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:8-17).

 

            “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal Godhead; so that they are without excused: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:18-25).

 

            “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in t heir knowledge, God gave them over a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who. Knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:26-32).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the first of the epistles written by the apostle Paul being presented in the New Testament. Although the epistle written unto the saints at Rome was not the first epistle written by the apostle Paul it is nonetheless the first of the thirteen epistles the apostle Paul wrote being presented in the New Testament. It is entirely and altogether unclear as to why the epistle written unto the saints of Rome was the first of the thirteen epistles of the apostle Paul found in the New Testament, however, we must needs recognize and understand the tremendous significance of this epistle. If you take the time to read the words and language found in this epistle you will find that it highlights and underscores such tenants of the faith such of justification through faith alone in the person of the Lord Jesus according to the free gift of the eternal and living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this epistle for within it we are brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding our being justified by faith in Jesus Christ alone and that not of ourselves as though we have anything worth boasting of. This epistle written by the apostle Paul highlights and brings to the forefront the tremendous truth that the just do indeed live by faith and it is in this epistle where the apostle Paul emphatically declares that those who confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believe with their heart that the living God raised Him from death to life on the third day are and will be saved.

 

            As you take the time to read the words which are found within this epistle you will be brought face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that it is intrinsically linked to the epistle which was written unto the churches of Galatia. Both the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints of Rome and the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the churches in Galatia focus on the tremendous truth that we are justified by faith in the Lord Jesus alone and not according to the works of the Law nor even by circumcision. In all reality it is the doctrines and tenants which are ascribed and presented within this epistle that were the source of much contention and strife around the person of the apostle Paul in some of the cities whereunto he traveled. In fact you will find the apostle Paul in the city of Jerusalem in the twenty-first chapter of the previous book of Acts and the Jews of Asia coming upon the apostle Paul and laying seize to him as they stirred the entire city as a hornet’s nest against the apostle Paul. These Jews from Asia took great offense to and with the apostle Paul for they described him as one who not only preached and taught against the Law of Moses but also against the Jews themselves and even the very Temple of the Lord which stood in the midst of Jerusalem. In fact much of the opposition the apostle Paul faced from the Jews was in direct relation to the tenants and doctrines that are presented here within this epistle.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this epistle for what is contained within this epistle was indeed revealed and given unto the apostle Paul through revelation by the Lord Jesus Himself. It is in the opening chapters of the epistle written unto the churches in Galatia the apostle Paul describes how he did not immediately journey unto Jerusalem and confer with the apostles and brethren upon his conversion but instead went into Arabia where he received revelation from the Lord Jesus. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and pay close attention to this as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the doctrines the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints of Rome as well as that which he taught and preached unto the Jews and Gentiles in the cities whereunto he traveled. What I so love and appreciate about the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints of Rome—and not only this epistle but each of the other twelve epistles written by his hand—is the fact that within it we are brought face to face with that which the apostle Paul taught and preached unto and among the Jews and Gentiles in the cities whereunto he traveled. In the New Testament book of Acts we find the apostle Paul teaching and preaching unto the Jews and Gentiles in the cities whereunto he traveled and we learn that he not only preached Jesus as both Lord and Christ but also as the only begotten Son of the living God. We know and learn from the New Testament book of Acts the apostle Paul preached the Lord Jesus suffering, crucified and put to death and raised from death to life on the third day.

 

            What we must needs recognize and understand is how the New Testament book of Acts highlights and underscores the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul preaching and teaching among the Jews and Gentiles in whatsoever cities he journeyed. What’s more is that in many of the cities whereunto the apostle Paul journeyed his words would be received by the Gentiles while there were a large number of unbelieving Jews who would not only oppose and blaspheme themselves but would also incite the people of these cities against the apostle Paul. In fact it is in chapters seventeen and eighteen where we find the unbelieving Jews in Thessalonica and Corinth opposing themselves and blaspheming in the sight and company of the apostle Paul. Not only do we find and discover this but we also find the Jews inciting large numbers of men and women within these cities against the apostle Paul because of the words and doctrines he preached among them. It’s important to note that this opposition experienced by the apostle Paul would begin almost immediately after his conversion on the road to and actually in the midst of the city of Damascus. Luke writes and records in the ninth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts how the Jews in Damascus took great offense to the words and doctrine the apostle Paul preached and even sought to kill and put him to death. Of course we know and understand how the disciples delivered the apostle Paul out of their hands and let him down from one of the walls of the city in a basket that he might escape their clutches and grasp.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading and epistle such as that of Romans it’s that the words and language contained therein brings us face to face with the doctrines the apostle Paul taught and preached among the Jews and Gentiles in the cities whereunto he journeyed and travelled. We cannot read the words found in this epistle and not come face to face with the doctrines and tenants the apostle Paul held to and preached unto and among the churches. In fact I actually love and appreciate the epistle written unto the saints of Rome being the first of the epistles written by the apostle Paul for not only is it the longest of the epistles written by the apostle but it also serves as the theological framework for the doctrine and tenants to which the apostle Paul adhered to and held. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words found in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome for the words and language contained within it are the foundation of the gospel which the apostle Paul preached. The words and language we find here in this epistle bring us face to face with that which the apostle Paul believed within his heart and soul—and not only that which the apostle Paul believed but also that which he preached unto the Jews and Gentiles in whatsoever cities he journeyed. It is absolutely necessary for us to recognize and pay close attention to the words and language contained in this epistle for it not only helps us understand that which the apostle Paul taught and preached among the Jews and Gentiles but also what he believed.

 

            The words and language found within the epistle written unto the saints of Rome not only serve as the foundation for that which the apostle Paul taught and preached among the Jews and Gentiles in the cities whereunto he traveled but they also serve as the foundation of what we as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus believe within our own hearts and lives. It is the words found within the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome that bring us face to face with the doctrines which we ourselves believe within our own hearts and lives. We cannot afford to move too casually and cavalierly through the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome for the words and language contained in this epistle brings us face to face with that which is the very foundation and core of our faith. The words which are presented here within this epistle serve as the very heart and foundation of the doctrines which we ourselves hold to and how we live and conduct our lives. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to acknowledge and truly come face to face with what we believe within our hearts and souls concerning the Lord Jesus. That which is found within this epistle must needs be recognized and understood as the very heart and soul of everything we believe in this life—and not only what we believe in this life but also how we live and conduct ourselves in the church as well as in the world. In all reality I would dare say the words and language found in this epistle serve as the very foundation for Christian living in the lives of the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            Upon beginning reading the words which are found in the first chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul you will find it opening with the standard greeting the apostle Paul used in each of his epistles. In the opening verse of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul providing his name as the author of the epistle. What’s more is that the apostle Paul didn’t merely provide his name at the very outset of the epistle thus indicating him as the author of it but he also provided language concerning the call of God that was upon his life. The epistle written unto the Romans begins with the name of the apostle Paul and then his declaring unto the saints in Rome how he was a servant of Jesus Christ and was called to be an apostle and separated unto the gospel of God. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay close attention to this particular truth for it is of the utmost importance we understand Paul as being a servant of Jesus Christ and being called to be an apostle who was separated unto the gospel of God thereafter. It would be very easy to think of Paul as an apostle who was separated unto the gospel of God first, however, I am absolutely convinced that at the very heart of the apostleship of Paul was his willingness to first be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. For Paul serving and ministering as an apostle was entirely and altogether secondary to his being called to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul recognized and understood that his being an apostle who was separated unto the gospel of God was entirely and altogether secondary to his first and foremost being a servant of Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how incredible it truly is for it brings us face to face with the very heart and soul of our own walk and relationship with the Lord Jesus—namely that we are first and foremost servants of Jesus Christ.

 

            In all reality I absolutely love how the apostle Paul begins and opens this epistle for the apostle Paul begins and opens this epistle with the tremendous truth surrounding his being a servant of Jesus Christ. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and realize when reading these words it’s that we are first and foremost servants of Jesus Christ. Anything and everything else we think and feel we are and do in and for Christ in this life is entirely and altogether secondary compared to our being a servant of Jesus Christ. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize that at the very heart of who we are in this life is our willingness to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to the degree and measure of our being servants of the Lord Jesus Christ we are actually able to abide in Him, hear His voice and do precisely what He has commanded us. What we find in this opening verse is a powerful realization and understanding of servanthood before apostleship—and not only servanthood before apostleship but also servanthood before calling. The apostle Paul recognized first and foremost that he was a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and as such he was entirely and altogether under the command of the Lord Jesus. In fact this reality and concept of being a servant of Jesus Christ is beautifully expressed in the ninth chapter of the book of Acts when we find the apostle Paul who was at that time still Saul of Tarsus speaking unto Jesus and asking him “What shall I do Lord?” We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the questions the apostle Paul asked of Jesus while on the road to Damascus for the words and language presented within this encounter not only center upon the identity of Jesus but also the tremendous truth surrounding that which the Lord Jesus has in fact called and asked of us in this life.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the encounter the apostle Paul had with the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the exchange he had with Him. It would be there on the road to Damascus the apostle Paul not only asked the Lord Jesus who He was but he also asked Him what He would ask and require of him. In all reality these two questions must be at the very forefront of our walk as disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus for everything we do and everything we are flow out of the place of who Jesus is and what He has called and commanded us to do. What’s more is that anything we think and believe we are flow intimately and directly out of who the Lord Jesus is and what He has called us to in this life. Oh there is a great need for us to recognize and understand that our entire identity is found first and foremost in who the Lord Jesus and anything and everything we do in this life is simply and solely an outworking of that which the Lord Jesus has commanded us to do. Perhaps the single greatest we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not that which we are doing in this life is of our own accord and volition or is actually of the will of the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul began and opened this epistle by first referring to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ for he recognized and understood that being a servant of Jesus Christ was the single greatest honor one could have in this life. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister we must needs understand that there is indeed and there is in fact no greater honor in this life than being a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ for it only to the degree and measure we are willing to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ we are truly able to please Him in the flesh and do the will of the Father.

 

            The apostle Paul begins the epistle written unto the saints in Rome by referring to himself first and foremost as a servant of Jesus Christ and then called to be an apostle who was separated unto the gospel of God. It would be immediately following this the apostle Paul would go on to describe just what that gospel of God was and how it was promised aforetime by His prophets in the holy scriptures. This gospel of God which the apostle Paul was called unto and preached was promised aforetime by the prophets in their generation as they each saw ahead into the future and that which the Lord Jesus would accomplish and fulfill in the earth. In fact many of the Hebrew prophets saw ahead to a coming time when the living God would raise up, ordain and appoint a Messiah who would be present among men. What’s more is I have long believed the Old Testament Hebrew prophet Isaiah can perhaps be best known as the Messianic prophet for there is perhaps no other prophet who saw as much concerning the coming Messiah and Christ than he. In fact the seventh, ninth, eleventh and fifty-third chapters of the prophetic book bearing the name of Isaiah contain some of the most powerful language concerning the Lord Jesus Christ in all the Old Testament. What’s more is even the sixty-first chapter of this same prophetic book brings us face to face with the tremendous language of the Lord Jesus Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit that was present upon and within His life—words which He Himself echoed and declared in the synagogue of Nazareth. In fact, I am convinced that in order for us to understand this gospel of God unto which the apostle Paul was separated it is necessary for us to consider the words and language found within this Old Testament prophetic book bearing the name of Isaiah:

 

            “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For behold the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings” (Isaiah 7:14-16).

 

 

            “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in galilee of the nations, the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:1-2).

 

            “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

 

            “And there shall come forth a road out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and might, The spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reigns. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jess, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:1-10).

 

            “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should. Desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with t he wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: And he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).

 

            “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3).

 

            In the opening verses of the first chapter of the epistle written unto the saints of Rome the apostle Paul speaks of the gospel of God which was promised afore by His prophets in the holy Scriptures. The apostle Paul then goes on to declare and speak of the gospel of God and how it concerned His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which weas made of the see of David according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Thus with these words—not only did the apostle Paul speak of and refer to the gospel of God pertaining to His only begotten Son Jesus Christ but he also highlighted and underscored Jesus Christ as our Lord. What’s more is the apostle Paul would go on to write and declare concerning this gospel of God that it centers upon Jesus Christ our Lord as being made of the seed of David according to the flesh as He would take upon Himself the form of human flesh—a reality which is found in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John as well as in the second chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews. This Jesus is both the Son of God in the flesh as well as the Christ and our Lord according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection of the dead. Oh we must needs recognize and understand the words and language that is found here in these verses for within them we are brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ as coming and being born in the flesh of the seed of David that He might suffer, be crucified and be raised from death to life according to the spirit of holiness. This gospel of God not only highlights Jesus as the Christ and Lord but it also highlights Him as being the eternal and only begotten Son of God. This gospel of God demonstrated how Jesus came in the flesh as the Son of David and how He was resurrected and raised from death to life according to the spirit of holiness.

 

            Continuing on in this opening chapter of the epistle written unto the Roman saints you will find the apostle Paul emphatically declaring that by and through Christ they had received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name. Furthermore the apostle Paul would go on to speak of the saints of God in Rome who were the called of Jesus Christ who were beloved of God and called to be saints. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of the tremendous significance of what is found within these verses for not only did the apostle Paul speak of his receiving grace and apostleship but he also spoke of obedience to the faith among all nations for his name.  Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words and language that is found in these verses for within them the apostle Paul speaks of obedience to the faith among all nations for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and how we are the called of Jesus Christ who are beloved of God and called to be saints. CALLED OF JESUS CHRIST! CALLED TO BE SAINTS! BELOVED OF GOD! Pause for a moment and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ for within these verses we come face to face with our identity and inheritance in Jesus in the flesh in this life. It is absolutely necessary and imperative when we begin reading this epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome we recognize and understand our identity and inheritance in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ by and through the eternal God and the free gift that was offered by Him unto us through His eternal and only begotten Son according to the Spirit of holiness.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider it’s that not only was Jesus the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God but so also are we sons of the living God. In fact it would be later in this epistle where the apostle Paul writes and speaks about all creation groaning for the manifestation and revelation of the sons of God. In the opening verses of this beginning chapter of this epistle we find the apostle Paul speaking of the obedience to the faith among all nations for his name—a reality which we must needs recognize and understand. Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that at the very heart of our role and relationship as sons of the living God there is and there must be this obedience to the faith among all nations for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each and every one of us have been called of Jesus Christ and called to be saints and are the beloved of God. What’s more is I am absolutely convinced there are men and women among us in this generation who need to know—and not only know but also believe they are called of Jesus Christ, are beloved of God and called to be saints. There are men and women among us who need to recognize and understand their true identity and inheritance as found in the person of Jesus Christ. There are those among us who desperately need to allow the Spirit of holiness and the eternal and only begotten Son of God to show them who they are as beloved of God and saints in this life. I fully believe there are men and women among us in this generation who have a great need in the flesh to understand and come face to face with who they are as the saints of God and how they are called of Jesus Christ to be saints. What’s more is these saints need to recognize and understand that grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are available for them.

 

            Upon reading the seventh verse of the opening chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul speaking of grace and peace—and not only speaking of grace and peace but also speaking of that grace and peace coming from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the wonderful truth surrounding these words and how there is indeed grace and peace found in the person of the living God and in the eternal and only begotten Son of God. There is indeed grace which is our receiving that which we don’t deserve and there is this peace which is found in the Lord Jesus Christ as we are given peace with God and peace with men. Oh there is something truly awesome and powerful about the words which are found in this verse for we who are called of Jesus Christ and we who are beloved of God and called to be saints have obtained grace and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear brother, dear sister do you truly recognize and understand that there is both grace and peace available to you and for you? Do you truly understand the grace and peace that is not only available to you but is also free and offered to you upon your asking? That which was given and offered at not cost or charge to those who were present during the days in which Jesus walked among us in the flesh is indeed available unto us. Pause and consider how many times Jesus invited those who received healing and forgiveness from Him to go in peace and to sin no more. Stop and think about just how invaluable and priceless peace with God through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ truly is. Think about the tremendous truth how peace with God in and through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ is truly and in fact free and available to you and unto you in this life as you walk upon the earth in the flesh.

 

            I absolutely love what is found within the opening verses of this chapter for not only do we encounter the tremendous truth that we are called of Jesus Christ and are the beloved of God who are called to be saints but we have also obtained grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I am absolutely convinced our inheritance in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed found in our being called of Jesus Christ and being the beloved of God who are called to be saints. Stop for a moment and think about your calling of God and how not only have you been called to be among the saints of God but you have also been called to be a servant of the living God. I am absolutely and completely convinced that what we find within this passage of Scripture is a tremendous picture of our identity in the Lord Jesus Christ before the Father for not only have we been called to be servants of the living God but we have also been called to be saints of God in Jesus Christ. What’s more is if you study the Scripture you will find there are in fact three different distinctions and realities found among those who walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ—namely, that they are sons of God, that they are saints of God and that they are servants of God. SONS, SERVANTS AND SAINTS! If you want to truly understand your inheritance in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ you must needs recognize and understand that are and you have been called to be a servant, you are and you have been called to be a saint and you are and you have been called to be a son. Remember in the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and how it was written how unto those who believed in and upon the Lord Jesus Christ was given power to become the sons of God—those who were born not of the flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of men, but those who were born of the Spirit. It would be Jesus who would declare unto Nicodemus that we must needs be born of both the water and the spirit to enter into and see the kingdom of God.

 

            The more I read the words which are found in the opening chapter of this New Testament epistle the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and tremendous truth surrounding our inheritance and identity in Jesus Christ. We must needs recognize that we have indeed been called to be saints, sons and servants in the sight of the living God and that as such there is grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand that when the Father sought to accomplish His greatest work in the earth he did not send a servant such as He had done when He sent the prophets or even the patriarchs and heroes of the faith as mentioned in the Old Testament and the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews. When the eternal Father sought to accomplish His greatest work in the earth He deliberately and intentionally chose to send a Son—and not only send a Son but send a Son in the flesh born of a woman. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for there is something truly remarkable and astounding about our being sons of the living God as such we have an inheritance that is found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand our role and relationship in the earth as sons of the most High God for we have indeed and have in fact been called to be sons, servants and saints in the flesh within this life. There is absolutely no denying and no mistaking this particular truth and reality for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding our being called as saints, servants and sons of God in the flesh—those who have received an inheritance in the Father through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Spirit. With this in mind I feel compelled to invite you to consider the words which are found in the first chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Ephesus:

 

            “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14).

 

            I absolutely love the words and language that is found in the opening verses of the first chapter of the epistle written by the hand of the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome for the words we find here present us with the tremendous truth that we are and have been called to be sons, servants and saints of God in the flesh in Jesus Christ according to the spirit of holiness. We know that Jesus is and was indeed the eternal and only begotten Son of the eternal Father but with that being said we must needs recognize and understand that we ourselves have been called to be sons  of God together with Christ—and not only sons of God together with Christ but also joint-heirs together with the Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover we have indeed and have in fact been called to be servants and saints in the flesh as those who are the called and beloved of God. Oh I am absolutely convinced there are men and women us in this generation who desperately need to know, accept and believe they are the called and beloved of God who have been chosen by Him and in Him. There are men and women among us in this generation who desperately need to recognize and understand that they have indeed and have in fact been called of God and are the beloved God who have been called to be saints, sons and servants in the flesh—those who have obtained grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            As you move further in the first chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul you will find something else that is signature and unique to his epistles. It is indeed true the apostle Paul will begin each of his epistles with his name and his own unique role as apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true the apostle Paul begins each of his epistles with a powerful statement and description of the inheritance and identity of the saints of God in Christ God in the flesh. With this being said we must also recognize and understand that in the beginning of each of his epistles he writes and speaks unto his audience concerning his prayers and his praying for them. If you begin reading with the eighth verse of this chapter you will find the apostle Paul writing unto the saints which were at Rome how he thanked God through Jesus Christ for them all that their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world. Moreover the apostle Paul would also call God as his witness whom he served with his spirit in the gospel of his Son that without ceasing he made mention of them always in his prayers. Stop for a moment and consider the tremendous truth and significance of what is found in these words and verses for within them the apostle Paul writes and declares unto the saints in Rome how he thanked God through Jesus Christ for them all—and not only thanking God through Jesus for them but also of their faith which was spoken of throughout the whole world. Pause for a moment and think about what it would have and must have been like to be a saint, servant and son of God living in Rome during those days and at that time knowing the tremendous vile and filth that permeated that culture and society. Stop and consider what it would take and require to not only hold on to and maintain your faith in the living God and the eternal and only begotten Son of God but also for that faith to be spoken of throughout the whole world.

 

            If there is one thing I absolutely love about the words and language found in this passage of Scripture it’s the passionate declaration the apostle Paul made unto the saints of Rome who he thanked God through Jesus Christ for them all and how without ceasing he made mention of them always in his prayers. While it is indeed true the apostle Paul was one who preached the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ unto and among the Jews and Gentiles there is something we learn and discover within his epistles—something that is not readily accessible and available in the New Testament book of Acts. It is in the New Testament book of Acts we discover a preaching apostle while in the epistles we discover something which was even greater than the preaching of the apostle. What we find in the epistles which were written by the apostle Paul was in fact the very foundation of his preaching—and not only the foundation of his preaching but also the foundation of his ministry unto and among the saints of God in Jesus Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that at the very heart of the preaching of the apostle Paul and at the very heart of the ministry which he undertook and engaged in was in fact the prayers he prayed for the saints of God. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are presented here in this passage of Scripture for while it is indeed true the apostle Paul was in fact a preacher of the gospel it was also true that he was indeed a man of prayer. The apostle Paul did indeed preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ but at the very heart and foundation of that preaching was his willingness to pray—a willingness to make mention of the saints of God and churches in his prayers as he committed and devoted himself to praying and making intercession for them. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand the tremendous truth surrounding the prayer(s) of the apostle Paul for the saints of God in Christ Jesus and how at the very heart of and even greater than his preaching the gospel was indeed the prayers he prayed and his making mention of and interceding for the churches before the throne of grace.

 

            Upon continuing to read the words which are presented here in this epistle you will find the immense desire found within the heart of the apostle Paul to come unto the saints of Rome—something which at the time of this writing he hadn’t yet done. In the eighth and ninth verses the apostle Paul mentions how he gives thanks for the saints of God which were at Rome and how he constantly made mention of them in his prayers but he goes on to describe how he eagerly and earnestly desired to have a prosperous journey unto these saints. In the tenth verse of this chapter we find the apostle Paul referencing his making request if by any means he might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto them. Furthermore in the eleventh verse the apostle Paul emphatically and intimately declared his desire and longing to see them that he might impart unto them some spiritual gift to the end that they might be established. Moreover the apostle Paul would go on to declare unto these saints how he longed to be comforted together with them by the mutual faith which they both shared. The apostle Paul declared unto these saints which were at Rome how he oftentimes purposed to come unto them but was not afforded the opportunity to do so that he might have some fruit among them as he had among the other Gentiles. The underlying purpose for the apostle Paul desiring to come unto these dear saints was that he might preach the gospel unto them—the gospel of God concerning the Lord Jesus who was declared to be the Son of God according to the spirit of holiness. Furthermore the apostle Paul would go on to declare how he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for he knew and understood that it was the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes—to the Jew first and also to the Greek. The apostle Paul would go on to declare how within the gospel of Christ the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith for it is written “The just shall live by faith.”

 

            We must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in this portion of Scripture for the words contained therein bring us face to face with the desire of the apostle Paul to preach the gospel of Christ—and not only his desire to preach the gospel of Christ but also how he was not ashamed of that gospel. The apostle Paul knew and believed that the gospel of Christ was the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes—unto the Jew first and also unto the Greek or Gentile. The words and language which is found in this passage of Scripture are absolutely and incredibly powerful for within them we not only find the desire and eagerness of the apostle Paul to preach the gospel of Christ unto the saints which were at Rome but he also desired the gospel to bear and bring forth fruit among them—some thirty fold, some sixty fold and some an hundred fold. The apostle Paul recognized and understood that the gospel of Christ was the power of God unto salvation and that contained within the gospel is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. It is in the gospel of Christ we encounter the tremendous truth concerning faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and how the just shall indeed live by faith.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but be absolutely astonished and captivated by when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s the concept of the just living by faith and how the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. There is something truly powerful about our knowledge and understanding of being brought from faith to faith in this life in Christ. In all reality when we speak about our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs recognize that it is a relationship that is entirely and altogether brought forth through, from and by faith and that it is a journey of faith and from faith and to faith. The journey with the Lord Jesus Christ does indeed begin with faith and with each and every passing day we must needs recognize that not only does and must our faith grow stronger but we are in fact brought from faith to faith. It is truly something absolutely astounding when reading the words contained in this passage of Scripture and how the words which are presented here bring us face to face with the tremendous significance and importance of faith. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that the just shall indeed and shall in fact live by faith and goes on to speak of how that faith which we live by is actually faith to faith. Oh there is truly something worth thinking about and considering when speaking of the gospel of God containing the righteousness of God being revealed from faith to faith. Within these verses we are not only brought face to face with the truth that the just shall live by their faith but we are also brought face to face with the truth that the righteousness of God is indeed revealed from faith to faith. It is indeed true that the just shall live by their faith and it is also true that faith is the starting point, faith is the continuing point and faith is the ending point. We must needs recognize and understand the tremendous and powerful truth that not only is the gospel of God but so also is our walk and relationship with the living God one that is spent moving from faith to faith and walking from faith to faith.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves when reading the words contained in this passage of Scripture is whether or not our walk and relationship with the living God is indeed one where we move to faith and from faith. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we speak of the just living by their faith the starting point is faith and the end point is also faith. Each and every day we must needs devote ourselves to moving to and from faith for faith must always be that which propels us forward as well as that which is passionately pursued. I am absolutely convinced that faith is both a pursuit as well as a process and that we truly live by our faith when we move to and from faith. With each and every passing day and with each and every step we take in this life we must not only move from faith but we must also move toward faith. It’s almost as if with each and every step we take it is a journey from faith which we previously walked in toward faith we will walk in during the coming days. This journey and walk as disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ is not only a journey that takes place from faith but it is also a journey that takes place to faith as faith is both a beginning and an end. What makes this all the more meaningful and significant is when you think about the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews and how Jesus is referred to as the author and finisher of our faith. In order for us to recognize just how this journey from faith to faith works we must needs recognize that Jesus is not only the author and architect of our faith but Jesus is also the finisher of our faith and the one who brings it to completion. In fact this reality directly coincides with the truth the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the Philippian saints when he spoke of his confidence that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.

 

            As I bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary we understand and recognize the tremendous truth that just as the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith so also is the Lord Jesus Christ the author and finisher—the author and perfecter of our faith. Faith is not something that is simply we possess internally that helps our prayers in the sight and presence of the living God. Faith is in all reality a journey and process within our lives as faith is not only a beginning and not only has a beginning but also has an end and is an end in and of itself. Faith is in fact a process and a pursuit as what begins with faith must always continue and conclude with faith. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding faith to faith and how it is both a beginning and a conclusion. Faith is something which propels us further and further along in this journey as disciples of the Lord Jesus and as saints of God. Faith is something we exercise and continue to exercise with each and every step we take and with each journey we make in this life. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand that faith is in fact something which we exercise and move to and from in this life and that the way faith truly grows stronger is our movement from faith to faith. It is the Lord Jesus who authors and begins our faith and it is the Lord Jesus who completes and finishes that same faith within our hearts and souls. With that being said we must needs recognize and understand that it is also the Lord authors our faith, concludes and finishes our faith but also walks with us strengthening our faith and helping us build our faith as we continue along in this journey. This reality and concept of faith to faith is something we must needs understand for it brings us face to face with the tremendous truth of faith as being a process and something which is authored, architected, engineered, continued, complimented and completed by the Lord Jesus. The underlying question we must needs ask ourselves when reading this passage of Scripture is whether or not we are indeed those who are willing to allow Jesus to author our faith, conclude our faith and even help us to move freely from faith to faith as our faith grows stronger with each obstacle and test it faces in this present life.

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