In Romans 1:1-7 there are three key phrases that jump out at me and they are “a servant of Jesus Christ”, “called to be an Apostle” and “set apart for the gospel of God”. It is interesting and noteworthy that Paul first and foremost describes himself as a servant of Christ. He immediately tells us he is not a great and mighty theologian who is to be revered; instead he is a servant (his position) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Greek word for servant is Duolous which means a “slave” or a “bondman”. A servant is one who is devoted to the disregard of one’s own interest. He is a servant or a slave to Jesus and his desire is to please the master and not the masses. (Read Galatians 1:10)
Paul is also “called to be an Apostle”. One who is “called to be an Apostle” is one who is divinely selected by decree of God to be a delegate or a messenger. He is not a self appointed Apostle. He is appointed by God. This calling is Paul’s ongoing service. He needs to establish his authority. His calling is also an affirmation that what he is doing is done by the appointment of God.
As a Pastor I take great comfort in my divine calling. I have a quote framed on my wall that I love from J. Oswald Sanders, “The sovereign selection of God gives great confidence to Christian workers. We can truly say, ‘I am here neither by selection of an individual nor election of a group, but by the almighty appointment of God.” God’s calling not only applies to Paul but it also applies to you, me and to who serve God faithfully.
Paul is “set apart for the Gospel of God”. Acts 13:2 tells us that Paul was appointed or set apart for the purpose of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Gospel (or the Good News) was delivered by the prophets of the Holy Scripture. This Gospel was promised since the beginning of time. The Gospel is the message and hope of the Old Testament, all prophets and the forefathers of faith as they anticipated the fulfillment of the promise foretold to them 1,000’s of years before they came to pass in Christ.