Romans 1:1 says, “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.” When the Apostle Paul was inspired to write letters to assemblies or individuals, he begins them by introducing himself and thus he starts out with his name, “Paul.” It was actually the custom of that day in letter-writing and Paul adhered to that custom. Then he wrote THREE distinct things about himself that would serve to identity his mission in life.  Let’s look at these three things and may the Holy Spirit be our Guide and Teacher!

Paul was “a bondservant of Jesus Christ.” This is so instructive, for if Paul had wanted to impress his readers you would think he would have started out by speaking of him being “an apostle.” But no, Paul thought of himself first and foremost as a SERVANT. The word in the Greek is DOULOS and it literally means a SLAVE. A “slave” is one that was purchased by someone and thus he was “owned by the person who bought him.” Paul knew full well that before his conversion to Christ he was a “servant of sin” as are all men and women before they turn to Christ for salvation. Paul referred to this is Romans 6:17-18, “But God be thanked that though you were SLAVES OF SIN, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Every believer has been purchased out of the slave market of sin and are now “slaves of Jesus Christ.” Jesus said in John 8:34-36, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a SLAVE OF SIN. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Jesus purchased us with His blood and made us “free from sin,” yet by making us His own we are now free to “serve Him.” 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 declares, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For YOU WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Paul was “called to be an apostle.” First of all, WHO called Paul to be an apostle? We have the answer in Galatians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead).” His calling to be an Apostle was DIRECTLY FROM GOD. It wasn’t man’s idea nor was it conferred upon Paul by man. The fact is the very day of Paul’s conversion it was made known that God had chosen him to be an apostle. We see this in Acts 9:15, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel.” The word “apostle” means “one who is sent” and thus Paul was “sent by God to bear His name before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel.” Gentiles are mentioned first for it was especially to the “Gentile nations” that he was sent to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Thus we read in verse 5, “Through Him we have received grace and APOSTLESHIP for obedience to the faith AMONG ALL NATIONS for His name.” Later, in 15:16, Paul wrote, “That I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles…that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” You can read more about Paul being the “Apostle to the Gentiles” in Galatians 1:16; 2:2, 7-9; Ephesians 3:8; Colossians 1:27 and 2nd Timothy 4:17.

Paul was “separated to the gospel of God.” Paul was, as one has said, “set apart to take the gospel to the Gentiles.” The word “gospel” means “good news” and it was Paul’s privilege to spread God’s good news of salvation through Jesus Christ throughout the Roman Empire. After Paul had completed his first missionary journey he was soon called to take the gospel on another missionary journey. “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now SEPARATE to Me, Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” As an apostle Paul TAUGHT all the foundational truths to believers concerning the Person and Work of Christ (see Ephesians 2:19-20; 3:1-5 and 1st Corinthians 3:9-1), but when Paul spread the gospel he PREACHED the good news to sinners that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (see 1st Corinthians 15:1-4). To this work every believer has been called, for everyone who has been purchased by the precious blood of Christ is privileged to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:16). You need not be an apostle to do this work, for the moment you were saved you too were “separated to the gospel of God” and thus you have the awesome responsibility to “do the work of an evangelist” (2nd Timothy 4:5). Are you, dear fellow-believer, doing that work?  (404.1)  (DO)