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Called by God

Romans 1:5-7
Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (NIVUK)

The gospel is God’s message to everybody about Jesus who loved them and died for their sins.  The gospel incorporates a command to repent of past sins (Acts 17:30) and embrace a whole change of life (Acts 2:38).  It is a message to obey and follow Jesus or be judged by Him (2 Thessalonians 1:8).  

Jesus commissioned the Apostles with the primary responsibility of explaining it to the world (Matthew 28:18-20), and the Apostle Paul was appointed as the lead Apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13).  Each of them had encountered the risen Lord Jesus, including Paul (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  They were inspired by the Holy Spirit to present the truth about salvation through Jesus Christ alone; first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles (Romans 1:16).  Their apostolic calling came directly from Jesus Christ.  Their ministry was not to exalt themselves but Jesus.  Their calling was not their choice, but His (1 Timothy 2:7).

Through the gospel, God is still calling people to obey the gospel - to belong to Jesus and to be God’s holy people.  Most of the believers in Rome had no Jewish religious background; they were Gentiles, as are most Christians today.  Firstly, the gospel call addresses people of every ethnic and cultural and language group, wherever they may live in the world.  It is a call to obey the command to repent of sin and trust in Jesus (Mark 1:14-15).  Secondly, it is a call to reject the world, flesh and devil and belong to Jesus Christ – as a slave to a master, and as a soldier to a commander.  It is a call to submit to Jesus as the only way to the Father and follow Him obediently.  Thirdly, it is a call to be a part of God’s holy people.  Formerly, only the Jews had that privilege, but now Gentiles would be included (Romans 1:16-17) if they come with faith in Jesus.  All those who do, know they are loved by God: they rely on His grace to help them every day and His peace to reassure them that they are safe in His presence.

Although the Apostles explained the gospel to plant and grow the Early Church, God continues to use their writing to form and reform the 21stC church.  God is still calling people to belong to Jesus, and He is using people like you and me to do it.  We do not have to invent a gospel we think people will like: we take what Jesus has already given to the Apostles and pass it on.  Indeed, it is essential to keep checking that the gospel we proclaim is authentically apostolic (Galatians 1:6-10).  If we don't, we risk a slow shift from the truth ... and that will never save any soul or glorify the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 2:1-3).  Neither will it enable new believers to learn what belonging to Christ is all about.  So, make sure you stay true to the authentic apostolic gospel, and encourage others to do the same.

Dear Lord God. Thank You for calling the Apostles to explain the gospel, and to pass it on to me. Forgive me when I substitute my own thoughts for the authentic apostolic revelation of the gospel. May I always be keen to understand the gospel clearly and to present it simply so that my friends and colleagues may know that Jesus Christ is calling them to belong to Him. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams