Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7 ESV)
You have been called by the gospel of God to belong to Jesus Christ. This is a very significant truth that you need to grasp and internalize as a new believer in Christ. A right understanding of this saying worthy of full acceptance would enable you grow in faith exponentially. Understanding this truth of our belonging wholly to Christ makes our obedience to His commands easier to perform. A lack of or poor understanding of this leads to a life of constant struggle in the Christian faith. How then is belonging to Christ demonstrated practically? It is most evident from how you live your life daily the moment you professed saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is reflected in your choices, your decision making process, your relationships, how you spend your time, what you value etc. From that moment you believed, you stopped belonging to yourself and you gave up the driver’s seat of your life. You no longer are the captain of your life and destiny. You also gave up every right to yourself and no longer have the final word or say in how you live your life. Jesus Christ is now the one who rules your life in EVERY aspect of your life through God’s word-the bible. There is no area or aspect of your life that is untouchable or out of the reach of God’s word.This aspect of the Christian life probably ranks as one of the most difficult to come to terms with, but it is what God demands and it is what you must completely give- your absolute surrender to God.
Furthermore, the gospel of God has been in the eternal plan of God through the ages before you were born. This gospel of God speaks concerning one person only- Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Through Him alone, grace has been given to you. And that grace from God as said in verse 5, is to bring you to the obedience of faith of the name of Jesus Christ. One of the distinguishing mark of the new life that you can easily recognize is an obedience of faith to God’s word as the supreme authority in your life. If you still consistently live in opposition or rebellion to God’s word, then you have not truly experienced the new life in Jesus Christ. And the cure for this is the gospel of God.
This brings us to two important things. The first is that the the gospel of God is a gospel of salvation; that you be saved from sin. When you say Jesus Christ is your saviour, you are saying you recognize him as the one who saves you from sin. And that salvation from sin also comes with the power he gives you to live in victory over sin. It simply means when you are born again into the new life, you will no longer live a life of sinning. The scriptures declare expressly that Jesus Christ, the son of man came to seek and save those who are lost.
The second part that many individuals who profess to be believers struggle with is the obedience of faith that comes with the new life in Christ. God has not called you, dear friend to live to yourself, for yourself and according to how you please. You are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to the obedience that comes from faith. Indeed you have been saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone, but this saving faith does not come alone or stand alone without any outward demonstration of a life of obedience to God’s word. This is the visible proof of the transformation that has happened on the inside.
You have not only been called to belong to Jesus Christ but you have been called to be a saint (verse 7). To be a saint is not achieved by your own effort or works, but what God himself works in you by His divine power as you walk in obedience to Him that then shows forth gloriously to the world to see. You have been called to belong to Jesus Christ, to be in Him and to have a taste of his divine nature. There is no greater or loftier calling than this; it surpasses comprehension.
I cannot overstate this, that the eternal and almighty God and King has called you to receive His grace and to have peace with Him. This is almost too good to be true, it is unbelievable and marvelous beyond words. How is this so? We will examine this as we go further in the books of Romans.
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