Commentary on the Book of Romans
1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
Even though Paul was and is probably the most influential apostle in the history of the church, notice the humility with which he writes this letter to the Romans. Even the name “Paul” means “little”. His name was changed by the Lord from Saul to Paul.
Paul, describes himself firstly as a bondservant, which in the greek really means “slave”. Paul is saying he is a slave of Jesus Christ.
He could have said he was an apostle, for he certainly was, but instead he said “called to be an apostle”. Literally, INVITED to be an apostle – one sent out by God.
“Separated to the gospel of God”. Paul knew that his primary calling was to serve in the spread of the gospel and in getting people to obey it. He could not devote himself to all kinds of worldly interests that pleased him, because he was a slave of Jesus Christ who had been separated to do God’s work.
Its good to compare our attitude, and the attitude of the ministers of the gospel we see, to that of Paul. Paul did not call himself “Rev. Dr. Pastor Paul, chief apostle to the gentiles, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, D.D. PhD blah blah blah”. Just Paul, a slave, called to be an apostle – a “gofer” of Jesus.
Jesus said, “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. ” (Matthew 23:8-10)
I consider one of the diseases of today’s church and in particular of modern charismatic christianity to be this obsession with personal branding, the parading of titles and degrees.
Jesus said in Luke 17:10
“So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”
It should be more than enough for us to enjoy the love of God, to be adopted into his family and to enjoy His company. It is more than we could ever deserve.