(Originally posted on June 12th, 2014 on a previous blog)
Romans 1: 2 Paul’s introduction part 2
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God– 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
If you missed part 1, you can read it here. In part 1 of the introduction, we learn about the nature and importance of the identity of Paul. We also learn where he gets his identity and the purpose behind it.
Now we move to learn more on why and what this gospel is.
The gospel he promised beforehand
As we first look at this statement, a couple things stand out. 1) This is positive in nature. The gospel is “good news” not “bad news” – why is this important? What had been taught about God so far is rules, regulation and rituals. Which are not necessarily bad things by themselves. But it is not the full story. And God had to teach people a how to live. But God doesn’t stop there. There could be a recipe book full of great recipes. It tells you how to create the perfect dishes. But if you don’t know why it is important then it is meaningless, or even bad. If you just go through the motions – you might even replicate some of those dishes. All the while you might question why do I have to add this ingredient or this is pointless to do this step. But if you understand the importance of each of the ingredients and understand the passion behind why your cooking it and have a love for what it will become – you have a better chance of really making a wonderful meal that satisfies your desires. So God in the old testament is teaching the how’s of life. The do’s and the don’ts. But that is not all God is. God is not just the 10 commandments. He is not a fire and brimstone God. God just doesn’t tell you how to live life and then gets mad at you for screwing it up. God is a God of Hope, God is a God of Love. And in the new testament or starting with Jesus – he starts to teach us why it is important. It is like the in the movie “The Wizard of Oz” when you start out watching the movie in black and white and all the sudden it turns into color. When my kids watched it for the first time, they were like this movie sucks it is in black and white and then as soon as it turns into color – their faces light up. When it was in black and white – they didn’t understand the big picture. And now seeing the whole movie, they understand the importance of the black and white and like it – but that initial time – the movie didn’t get good until the color happened. The gospel is God in color. 2) He – not someone else. The same God who gave us the ten commandments is giving us this good news. 3) promised beforehand – this isn’t something new, this was part of the plan – part of the training. He always planned on this good news. God isn’t doing things by the seat of his pants. He isn’t going to change His mind. He is faithful until completion.
Through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
God not only had this plan, He shared it with us through his prophets. When God wanted to speak to the nation of Israel in the old testament, they didn’t have the bible to refer to. So God used men to deliver His messages. These people were referred to as prophets. And some of the old testament is about them and there messages to Israel. Isaiah 7:14, Daniel 9:24-26, Micah 5:2 would all be said by prophets to Israel referring to Jesus Christ. Even in Gen 3:15 it is about Jesus. So again this is proof that it was always the plan of God for Jesus (God’s own Son) to die on the cross, so that we might be with Him.
These are the same scriptures that were preached by the religious leaders of the Israel, so they could not even deny what it says. These were not just pulled out of some random book that no one had heard about. Paul knew these scriptures because they were taught to him long before God changed his life. He just now understood the true meaning of them.
Verse 2 reminds us that we serve a loving God. A God who loves us so much, that he is willing to teach in black and white and in color. He teaches us how and why life matters. And He wants that so bad for us that He has laid out a plan and not deviated from it. He has even given us a roadmap that showed us His plan. If he has gone that far and with that much attention to detail for that, what does that say about what he has planned for you. Are you glorifying God with your life? Are you in despair and think that God has abandoned you? Maybe you missed the road map signs he has shown you in your life, because I can promise you this – He ain’t done with you yet. He will be faithful until completed, the question is will you allow Him to complete the work in you.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God– the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
I hope you are starting to put it all together why I love Paul’s introductions. What an awesome reflection of God’s glory. One of the first things I referred to was that if you asked Americans today if they were Christians, they would say yes. I wonder what the Apostle Paul or even better, what God thinks about how we perceive what Christianity is in today’s standards. One of my biggest phrases in life is that life is all about perspective. I know what Jesus perspective was, I know what the apostle Paul’s perspective was. And no, I am not putting Jesus and Paul on the same level. But do we really serve Christ the way we should or have we lost perspective.