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5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,  


Through Him

It is through the wonderful Person described in the previous verses that Paul and the other apostles received the unique message from God.

we have received grace and apostleship

The apostles received the gift of the office of apostleship by the grace of God. “Grace” refers to everything that God is free to do for us because of the work of Christ on the cross for our sins. “Grace” characterized their apostleship, for it was a gift. It was not from anything they deserved.

1 Pe 4:10-11, 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

for obedience to the faith

The apostles sought to present the gospel to all nations; it is a universal message.  “The faith” is the Christian system of belief (Ac 6:7). This construct of belief springs from faith in the content of the gospel message. God placed Paul on earth to bring about obedience that springs from faith in the gospel.

The word “for” refers to result. God gave Paul the grace of apostleship with the result of bringing about obedience to the faith. The word “obedience” means to hear under—that is, to listen to what God has to say by acting on it. The phrase “obedience to the faith” occurs one other time:

Ro 16:26, but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith . . .

The debate about the phrase “obedience to the faith” concerns whether obedience is subjective or objective. That is, is this referring to (1) the subjective act of believing or (2) trust in the objective content of our faith (the doctrine to be believed)? The former view holds to a works-righteousness: it focuses on our work, not the work of Christ. The proper view is that we are obedient to “the faith”—that is, that we have faith in the body of truth God sets forth to be true. This is an issue of effect rather than cause. Because of our faith in the objective truth, we obey the faith or the gospel; our obedience is a result of our faith.

Faith in the gospel message is the condition of salvation. Faith in the work of Christ is a central argument in the book of Romans; this faith will result in certain effect. The argument of the book of James is that faith produces a changed life (works).

among all nations

“Nations” refers to Gentiles. God wanted Gentiles to obey the Christian faith. This was Paul’s particular mission—a mission to the Gentiles (Ac 26:17). Peter’s mission was to the Jews.

for His name,

The word “for” in “for His name” means on behalf of or for the sake of. “Name” refers to all that God is in His being. It carries the idea of reputation or character. If we say, “That man has a name for integrity,” we mean that he has a reputation for integrity. God has a reputation for integrity in His message to man. The final goal of the gospel is to bring glory to the name of Christ.


We give glory to Jesus’ name by spreading the gospel of grace.


There is a glory in the gospel of Christ. It is the glory of His grace. He has done it all; all to Him we owe. Salvation is by the work of Christ in its entirety.

Ro 3:24, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus . . .

Eph 2:8-9,  8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

It is grace that gives us our marching orders to spread the gospel to all nations. We received these orders directly from Jesus Himself (Mt 20:18-20). Believing that Alexander the Great lived does not do much for me. However, believing that Jesus died for my sin and rose from the dead to give me eternal life does do something amazing for me. God is able to give us grace, no matter what we are like, and still not compromise His character. Why? Because He did all that was necessary to meet the holy demands of His character by dying for every sin of every man on the cross.