Romans 1:1 says, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”  This salutation of Paul to “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints” (verse 7) begins his only letter to the believers living in Rome.  This letter, or epistle, was written around 52 B.C.  Paul wrote this letter from Corinth at the home of his friend, Gaius, as we read in Romans 16:23, “Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you…”  Gaius lived in Corinth and was one of the few people that Paul baptized.  We read in 1 Corinthians 1:14, “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius.”  Let’s examine Romans 1:1 closely and see what we can learn from it.

  • PAUL – This was the same man who, previously known as Saul, had persecuted Christians and was saved on his way to Damascus to find and imprison Christians.  We have the account of this conversion in Acts 9:1-22.  We read in Acts 13:9, “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.”  Saul, which means large, had his name changed to Paul, which means small.  In the eyes of the world, Saul was a great man, but now as a follower of the Lord Jesus, he was thought of as small to the world who had rejected Christ.
  • A SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, CALLED TO BE AN APOSTLE – In 7 of his epistles, Paul referred to himself as an ‘apostle’.  In two epistles (Philippines, and Titus) Paul referred to himself as simply as a ‘servant.’  In this book, Paul refers to himself as both a servant and an apostle.  The word ‘servant’ indicates that Paul was literally a ‘slave.’  It shows that Paul had a master, and in this epistle, Paul shows that his master was the Lord Jesus Christ.  As an apostle, Paul indicates that he was a ‘sent one’ from the Lord.  Paul was called to be sent!  His office came through the Lord Jesus Himself.  Paul said of his office in Galatians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;).”  More exactly, he was the apostle to the Gentiles as he wrote in Romans 11:13, “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles…”
  • SEPARATED UNTO THE GOSPEL OF GOD – In calling Paul to his apostleship, the Lord had separated him FROM the world and TO the Gospel of God.  As Paul was re-telling the account of his salvation King Agrippa in Acts 26, he said in verses 16-17, where the Lord had said to him, “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee.”  From the outset of his salvation, Paul was told that he saved with a particular purpose…to be a minister of the Gospel and a witness to the truth of God’s grace.  To be a true and faithful servant of the Lord, we must be separate from the world that hated and crucified our savior.  We cannot be involved with the world’s pleasure and effectively witness for Him.

After living a life of constant struggle and hardship, Paul, in a prison dungeon, wrote these words in 1 Timothy 1:12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”  Having given up all worldly prestige, wealth, security, Paul, in this dark and damp dungeon thanked the Lord for the privilege of being His servant and minister.  May these few words from Paul in Romans 1:1 encourage all those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be faithful servants, to stand ready to be called into a life of service, and to separate ourselves from the world so that we might faithfully share the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the world who so desperately need Him as their savior and Lord.  We can all rest assured from the words we read in Hebrews 6:10, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”  (192.4)