“including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
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.”
As I listen to John Piper speaking on everything we’ve covered these many weeks, I think back to starting this and how it’s been really fun to really delve into God’s word and learn it, study it, and seek to understand it be the Holy Spirit’s power.
But to get into these verses we’ll have to be reminded of our last look in Romans in verse 5 which says:
“through whom [Jesus] we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations”
Paul makes clear the point of it all: to bring the obedience of faith for the sake of His name.
So He moves further on to say “including you“. So, to merge the verses it would say, “..for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called..” so He includes the recipients of his letter specifically, saying that on a personal level they are included in this mission to spread the gospel and to grow in faithful obedience.
The message John Piper gave concerning this really highlighted the magnitude of this.
“So, when he finally comes in verses 6-7 to describe his readers in Rome (and by implication, all Christians!), it is not surprising that he speaks with the same emphasis on what God has done, not what we have done. It’s not that what we do is unimportant: verse 5 says that the aim of Paul’s apostleship among the gentiles is the “obedience of faith.” So what we do is utterly crucial: his whole ministry fails if it does not bring about the obedience of faith in our lives”
He goes on to remind us of the audacity of it all. God (in verse 6) includes the called into his mission. God chose to call that little man named Paul, in that little church in Rome to spread the mission of God to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).
Can you picture this in your head? It’s really hard to grasp how crazy this is. God is going to use an ex-murderer-now-christian to write inspired scripture, and to lead many church’s (at the very beginning of the church age, too!) to grow and reach the world for Jesus. I’d say that sounds impossible.
And it is, apart from Christ.
But He still empowered them (and us) with The Spirit to make it happen!
And, for more icing on the cake, first God chose to save us (v. 6). Then Paul makes a signature statement, preluded by reminding that Jesus has called us, and He loves us.
I would challenge you to let that sink in.
If you are in Christ, He’s called you, and He loves you. You and I don’t deserve it, He doesn’t need us, and yet he chooses to let us be apart of his magnificent story of His amazing grace. Because he wants us.
As I read John Piper’s amazing book “Desiring God“, these small, simple truths have been meaning even more to me. There’s so much richness in the Bible I’m so thankful for! Read it, pray, study, and understand it.
Thanks for reading!