The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 119 of 181
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1: 6 - 17.
pp. 113 - 117
The Apostle Paul, having stated the divine origin of his apostleship, declares that
"faith obedience" of the gospel was to the Gentiles. The Greek ethne (like the Hebrew
equivalent goyim) can be rendered Gentiles, nations, or heathen; the context must decide.
Some rightly attempt to render it "nations" in all its occurrences but this restriction only
leads to difficulties and errors in interpretation. The Apostle here is confirming the fact
that he was the Christ-directed apostle to the Gentiles, whereas Peter, James and John
were primarily Christ's representatives to Israel. The fact that Paul goes on to state,
"among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ", seems to clearly indicate that the
majority of the Roman church were Gentiles, but the word cannot obviously mean
`nations' as a whole. Such were the "called of God" and designated `saints' or holy ones,
that is, called to be God's holy people separated for Himself. The word `saint' looks
back to the O.T.  Exodus 19: 6 describes Israel's call by God to be, amongst other
things, "a holy nation", a nation chosen by Himself to carry out His earthly purpose for
them. The Roman believers were likewise called to fulfil God's will.
To them was given the greeting:
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ" (1: 7).
This united the Greek and Jewish modes of salutation. The Greek would say chaire,
rejoice, and the Jew shalom, peace.
The reader should note the weighty points contained in this introduction to the epistle:
Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles.
The gospel as it relates to Christ.
Christ considered according to the flesh and according to the spirit.
The sphere of Paul's ministry, "all nations".
The nature of his testimony "faith obedience".
The incentive, both for him and the believers to whom he wrote, "for the sake of
His Name".
These opening verses speak directly to every minister of the Word of God.
Charles H. Welch's words to modern readers are to the point.
"You are not your own master, nor your congregation's servant. You like Paul are the
bond-slave of Christ. Whether you labour with your hands in the work-a-day world, or
whether your whole time is devoted to the ministry, you are separated unto the gospel of
God. You cannot preach that Gospel and doubt the O.T. Scriptures. Neither can you
preach that Gospel and fail to preach Christ. Even though you preach Christ, you will not
preach a full Gospel without Christ risen. Your own obedience and the obedience
enjoined by you upon others is not a legal obedience, but an obedience of faith. Grace
and peace be with all such" (Just and the Justifier, p.9).