Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God. Romans 1:1 (NIV)
Read: Romans 1:1-17
Consider: In introducing himself in his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul states that he has been ‘… called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God (Romans 1:1). Paul was confident that he had been called by God to fulfil a special purpose in life. He also had a very real sense of having been set apart for this task. We can read about the commissioning of Barnabas and Saul (Paul) in Acts 13:2 – While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’. This commissioning by the church in Antioch was obviously an important event in Paul’s life. However, listen to what he says in his letter to the Galatians: But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being (Galatians 1:15-16). Reflecting on his calling, Paul realised that it did not start with the church in Antioch sending him and Barnabas to proclaim the good news to the Gentiles. No, it started even before he was born! God had chosen, called and set him apart as part of his salvation plan.
Paul’s sense of calling and being set apart reminds me of Jesus and how he felt about the task he was called to achieve. During his ministry, when he was in the temple in Jerusalem facing his opponents, he said: ‘… what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, “I am God’s Son”?’ (John 10:36). Jesus had a very clear understanding of his having been set apart by the Father for the task he would accomplish on the cross; a task for which he had specifically been sent into the world to achieve. When Jesus said ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), he wasn’t indicating that he was about to die, but that the task set for him by the Father was complete. It is not a cry of defeat, but one of victory!
It would be my prayer for you and also for myself, that we each would have a very real sense of God’s calling and being set apart for the tasks he specifically has in mind for us to do.
Pray: Father, thank you that Jesus was resolute in fulfilling the task you had set him apart for and sent him into the world to achieve (our salvation). May we be like Paul, who had a very strong conviction of his calling and being set apart for the task of proclaiming the good news. Use us in the way you choose, to fulfil your purposes. Amen