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Read Introduction to Romans

 

1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God  

 

called to be an apostle,

The second description Paul gave of himself is as an apostle. Paul was a “called apostle” (Greek). Note the words “to be” are italicized, indicating that they are not present in the Greek text. God designated Paul to assume an office. Paul did not decide for himself to be an apostle, but God called him to that position. It was not of his doing—God initiated the call. God Himself enlisted Paul as an apostle; Paul was an apostle by calling from God. The church as well did not call him.

Paul did not fire blank cartridges. He represented God by what he wrote. He was a called apostle. The Greek stresses the nature of God’s intervention in Paul’s life.

The status of an apostle was the most powerful gift in God’s economy. An apostle had the right to write Scripture, to do miracles, and to found the church. This role carried great authority and refers to Paul’s call to the particular service of apostleship, not to salvation. God put him in a place to do His will.

The gift of apostleship ceased with the writing of Scripture (the closing of the canon). It was a temporary gift given to the church. To have the authority to write Scripture, for example, the book of Acts stipulates three qualifications for the office of apostle:

He had to be a personal disciple of Jesus during His earthly ministry.

He had to be an eye-witness of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

He had to be called by Jesus Himself personally.

With the death of the apostles came the close of the canon of Scripture. God gave no further Scripture after the first century. Other apostles endorsed Paul as an apostle and recognized his writing as Scripture (2 Pe 3:15). Paul saw the resurrected Jesus on the Damascus Road.

The term “apostle” carries both a technical and a non-technical usage. There are 79 occurrences in the New Testament. The primary usage is the technical sense. The idea of this sense is that someone has authority to receive direct revelation and write Scripture or found the church, as well as the authority to perform miracles in order to establish their apostolic authenticity in writing Scripture. The non-technical usage can refer to all believers as witnesses for Christ (Ro 16:7; Ac 14:14).

The original idea of an apostle was as an envoy, one sent on a commission to represent a king. Our usage of the word “ambassador” conveys the idea. Paul was an official ambassador of the King of kings.

Ga 1: 1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead). . .  

PRINCIPLE:

Everyone who believes in Christ is an ambassador for Him.

APPLICATION:

We are to deem ourselves as ambassadors for the King of kings. We are to carry his message (the gospel) to the world. God effectually summons us to that end. We have credentials from God to do this.

1 Co 9: 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!

We need to note that any further claim to revelation is heresy. Joseph Smith claimed Scripture further to the New Testament. Mormonism was the heresy that came of that claim.

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