Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). I believe Paul’s letter to the believers’ in Rome has been rightly described as The Constitution of Christianity. It is a twenty-two page, 7,100 word letter, which according to A.M. Hunter, has “century after century has been the flame at which one great Christian leader after another has kindled his own torch to the revival of the church and the enrichment of Christendom.” Samuel Coleridge said, “I think that the Epistle to the Romans is the most profound work in existence.” John Knox said, “[Romans] is unquestionably the most important theological work ever written.” How is it that such things can be said about this letter? It was written by a former Jewish Pharisee who hated Christianity (Acts 9:1). He helped kill the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:58; 8:1). He persecuted the early church with passion (1 Timothy 1:13).
However, this persecutor of the early church had a face-to-face encounter with Jesus Christ and it forever changed his life. God took a man who passionately hated the church, Christians, and Christ and used him to write most of the New Testament. This man we know as Paul came to view himself as a “bond-servant of Christ Jesus.” The use of this term expressed his complete submission to Jesus Christ. He further viewed himself as totally set apart for the gospel. The word means slave, and Paul saw himself as such. He was a slave to Christ. He saw himself as God’s property. I wonder how many believers today see themselves as slaves to Christ.
Three things can be said of a bond-servant of Christ. First of all, a bond-servant is one who has been redeemed. There are two types of people in the world today, the redeemed and the condemned. We are redeemed on the basis of Christ’s death. Romans 3:24 says, “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Secondly, a bond-servant is one who has resolve. He has resolved to live for Christ. Paul said he had been “set apart for the gospel of God” (1:1). He was resolved to live for Christ. Furthermore, a bond-servant has resolve to live a life of holiness (Eph. 1:4), to proclaim Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:14-15), and to please God (1 Cor. 7:23). Finally, a bond-servant is one who has the promise of reward. God’s Word makes it clear that all those who faithfully serve Jesus Christ will be rewarded (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
It is the combination of redemption, resolve and reward that sustains the bond-servant of Christ. We can face whatever circumstances life might bring our way. We can remain faithful to God no matter what. We can be assured that God will fulfill His purpose for us. This is the message of Romans 8:26-39. We have been redeemed. We can resolve to live for Christ. We will be rewarded for our faithfulness. Are you a bond-servant of Christ?
“In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil” (Hebrews 6:17-19).
I confess to you, at times I simply do not understand God’s purpose and promise. In fact, I would say that this is the case most of the time. I would venture to say the case is the same for most folks reading this article. We are quick to offer up praise to God when all blessings flow. However, we have a tough time believing when those blessings seem to go. It is during times such as these, when the trials and tribulations of life come, that we must learn to think theologically rather than logically. This is exactly the message of the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 6:17-19. God does not expect us to understand all the ins and outs of life. Neither does He expect us to be able to explain it all away. From this passage of Scripture we know two theological facts: (1) With God, there is an unchangeable purpose; and (2) that purpose is guaranteed with an oath.
So let’s think theologically for a moment. In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon writes, “God has made everything appropriate in its time.” Therefore, theologically we can conclude, God is in control all the time. From that we can further conclude that because He is in control all the time, all time is under his control. Since God is in control all the time and because all time is under his control, then we must equally conclude that God is in control of every single event that occurs within time, and to take it one step further, eternity. Finally, we must conclude that He is in control of every single event within our lives. There is nothing about us over which God is not sovereign. He is in control!
Thinking theologically rather than logically provides three benefits. First of all, there is encouragement. The writer of Hebrews tells us that logical thinking will discourage but theological thinking will encourage. He says you will have, “strong encouragement.” Secondly, there is hope. This is not the hope the world offers, which can be summed up by the statement, “I hope so.” This is a sure and eternal hope! Therefore, he says we can “take hold of the hope set before us.” If we truly understand God is in control all the time of all time of all events within time then we know He is in control of the good times and the bad times. Therefore we can hope. This hope yields a sense of divine refuge, because the hope is in God and not yourself. Finally, this encouragement and hope we have serves as an “anchor for the soul.” It reminds us that because God has a purpose and because He cannot lie, we will not lose. And we will discover, as one preacher said, “In the mysterious manner of God’s own timing, for some unexplainable and yet unchangeable purpose, those of us who trust Him ultimately win – because God ultimately wins.”
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