This book of Romans is very significant, especially for believers. In it, Paul lays out many Biblical truths and theological doctrines. As believers, we need to understand these doctrines, so that we can walk in this world having a testimony before G-d that He is well pleased with. Many of Paul’s points in this book are made from the perspective of Jewish culture, and much of Paul’s emphasis is on the Old Testament Scripture (the Tanach – the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings). There were many Jewish individuals living in Rome at the time of Paul. Historically, one of the things that was unique about this Jewish community was that they had their own style of prayer. Although the congregation of believers in Rome did have some Gentiles in it, there was also a significant group of Jewish believers in it. Paul wanted the Jewish individuals, within this congregation, to understand the truth that G-d had revealed to him, in order that this truth would be shared throughout this congregation, throughout Rome and throughout the world. As per usual all commentary is based on the NKJV. Today we will read Romans 1:1-6
v1: Literally: Slave: The word Paul uses here is a stronger word than ‘servant’ or ‘worker’. Paul saw himself as a slave. He understood the implications of redemption. Redemption is an accounting term. It involves a transfer, and for that transfer to take place a payment had to be made. Paul understood that he had been bought with the blood of Messiah, and, as such, he had a new status – that of being the slave of Messiah. On the one hand Paul knew that this covenant of forgiveness, that he had entered into, made him a son of G-d (i.e. he had an eternal inheritance), but on the other hand Paul also understood that by entering into this covenant he had also made a decision to submit to and to serve G-d.
- Called… an apostle: Paul is emphasizing (as he frequently does in many of his epistles) that he had a unique call upon his life – a call to be an apostle. This meant that he no longer desired to make his own decisions for his life, but that he had obediently subjected himself to the will and purposes of Messiah for it.
- Separated: Set apart. This word is written in the passive. This means that Paul couldn’t do this to himself – it was done for him. Paul didn’t volunteer to be an apostle. G-d made him one. The term ‘set apart’ carries with it the idea of sanctification. Sanctification is always rooted in the purpose of G-d. Paul’s life was set apart for G-d’s purposes.
- Gospel: The good news. This is a concept also found in the Old Testament and is related to not just any type of good news but specifically good news concerning redemption (Ps 40:9, Ps 96:2, Isaiah 52:7).
v2: Promised from before: The gospel was not a new concept in the New Testament.
- Through His prophets: We need to understand, within the prophetic context of Scripture, the importance of the gospel of Messiah. Understanding this will lead to understanding what the expectations of G-d are for those whom He has redeemed.
v3: Yeshua Messiah our L-rd: If we want to have a pleasing walk before G-d, wanting to do His will, then we are called to demonstrate that Yeshua is the L-rd of our lives (that we submit to Him).
- The seed of David: Note 1: There are two genealogies for Yeshua – one in Matthew 1:1-17 and the other in Luke 3:23-38. Many people claim that the genealogy in Luke is Mary’s family line, but there is no Biblical basis for this as that is not taught in Scripture.
Note 2: There is a very important prophecy in Jer 22:28-30 concerning a very evil king in Judah called Jehoahaz. This prophecy states that none of this man’s descendants would ever sit upon the throne. This is highly important because that would seem to destroy the Messianic promise (1 Kings 9:5). The Bible teaches us that Yeshua was supernaturally conceived of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31-35). He was conceived without human seed. In Jewish law, if a woman is in a covenantal relationship with a man (Mary was betrothed – legally married – and therefore in covenant with Joseph) than any children born to her are considered legally his – even if they are not biologically his. Because of Joseph’s family line, through King David, Yeshua is legally considered of the seed of David. Biologically, though, this is not the case. The fact that Yeshua was born to a virgin fulfils this prophecy in Jeremiah 22:28-30 biologically, yet it also ensured that the promise of the coming of the Messiah was not destroyed.
Note 3: Gentile believers are not Jewish. Biologically we do not descend from the seed of Abraham. However, legally (in G-d’s eyes), once we believe, we are of the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:29). Legally Yeshua was of the house of David, just like every (Gentile) believer is part of the seed of Abraham – even though they are not of Jewish descent.
- According to the flesh: This means according to a human way or in a natural way.
v4: Declared to be: Seen to be. This is a word that means to be cut out according to a pattern. Yeshua perfectly fulfilled the set of standards laid out for Him.
- The Son of G-d: Speaking of Yeshua’s divinity.
- Resurrection from the dead: Yeshua’s resurrection from the dead is vitally important to us as believers. It demonstrates to us that He is the Son of G-d, the firstborn of the dead (Col 1:18)
v5: Through whom: Referring to the L-rd Messiah Yeshua.
- Apostleship: We have all been sent out to do G-d’s will – to be a blessing to the nations. We may not all have a call to be an apostle, like Paul was, or we may not be sent forth like missionaries are, but, as believers, we are all called to represent G-d in this world.
- Obedience to the faith: G-d’s purpose for our lives is that we demonstrate faithful obedience to Him.
- His name: Jewish people speak about G-d as ‘HaShem’ – literally: The Name. Paul, referring to Yeshua by the ‘Name’, alludes to the divinity of Yeshua in this verse.
v6: You: Every believer.
- Called: We all have a calling on our lives.