The epistle to the Romans was not Paul's first epistle. Several were written before it. It may be placed first because of the excellency of it or perhaps because of the SUBJECT of it! The chief design of this epistle is to set in a clear light the doctrine of justificationwhich is not by nature, law, or ceremony but by the righteousness of Christ imputed through the grace of God and received by faith.
Calvin said, "When anyone gains a knowledge of this epistle, he has an entrance opened to him to all the most hidden treasures of Scripture."
(Vs. 1) "Paul," Most agree that the apostle was called SAUL among the Jews and PAUL, by the Gentiles (Acts 13:9). One thing is certainthe true servants of Christ are not fond of fancy titles. Paul Identifies himself in a three-fold way:
(1) "A servant of Jesus Christ," This was not only an expression of humility but one which denotes a true minister of Christ and His church; for he does consider himself indeed a willing, loving, obedient bondslave of Jesus Christ. (Exo. 21:1-6).
(2) "Called to be an apostle." An apostle was one who was sent by Christ, had his authority and doctrine directly from Christ, and had special power to work miracles in confirmation of his mission and authority (Heb. 2:3-4). Several questioned his apostleship because he was called after Christ asceuded.
(3) "Separated unto the gospel." We know that he was separated from his mother's womb (Gal. 1:15), he was separated to bear the gospel to Gentiles (Acts 9:15), and he was separated by the Holy Ghost (Acts 13:2); but this reference is to his determination to preach the gospel of God! He was fully dedicated to preaching the GOSPEL. (I Cor. 1:17; I Cor. 2-2). It is the gospel of God in that He is the Author of it, the EXECUTOR of it, the SIJBJECT of it, and the REVEALER of it.
(Vs. 2) This gospel of God is NO NEW DOCTRINE. This is the gospel of grace conceived in the heart of God from, all eternity. It was ordained before the world was, it was hid in Christ from the beginning, and it was revealed to the sons of men in promise, by prophets, in picture, in type, and in ceremony throughout the Old Testament (Acts 10:43; Heb. 1:1-2; Luke 24:44-45). The prophets prophesied of the promise of the gospel; it was manifested by the coming of our Lord (II Tim. 1:9-10).
(Vs. 3) These words are to be read with verse one, "The gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord," and express the SUBJECT matter of the gospel. Christ is the gospel? The gospel concerns His person and His work. The whole gospel is included in Christ; and as a man removes one step from Christ, he departs from the gospel (II Cor. 11:3; I John 5:11-13, 20).
Two things must be found in Christ in order that we may obtain salvation in Him: DEITY and HUMANITY (Isa. 9:6; Matt. 1:23; John 1:14). He is the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ; and according to the flesh He is the seed of David (Psalm 132:11; Luke 1:32). It appears to have been a common thing for the Jews to refer to their Messiah as the Son of David (Mark 10:47; Matt. 22:42).
(Vs. 4) Our Lord Jesus was MADE or BECAME the seed of David (Gal. 4:4), but He was DECLARED to be the Son of God (John 10:30). He is the Son of God WITH POWER (Heb. 1:2-3; Matt. 28:18; John 17:2; John 5:36). "According to the Spirit of holiness" can be understood either of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:16) or the divine nature of Christ which was without sin.
He was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. On this great fact of His resurrection from the dead, Paul rests the truth of His gospel (I Cor. 15:12-19). His resurrection declares Him to be all that He claimed.
(Vs. 5) Having completed his definition of the gospel, Paul speaks of his call to the apostleship and the end of his ministry. By the mercy of Christ he received grace in conversion and the office of an apostle. It was through Divine favor, not his own worthiness, that he was chosen for such a high office (I Cor. 15:10).
We have received a command to preach the gospel among all nations, and this gospel is received or obeyed by faith (Mark 16:15-16). It is our duty to preach the Word, and it is the duty of all men to hear and believe (John 6:28-29). By special appointment Paul was a minister to the Gentiles for the honor and glory of the name of Christ, in whose name Paul went and in whose name He preached (Rom. 10:13-15).
(Vs. 6) The calling here is not to an office; but it is that internal, effectual, and personal call of the Spirit of God to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 1:26-30).