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God's Sovereignty
Romans 1:1 “... set apart for the Gospel of God.”

Paul is not simply saying that he was saved in order to tell others about the Gospel. Paul is not so weak in his theology and doctrine to believe that God would save him only to tell others about Him. True knowledge of the one true God reveals this: That Paul has been set apart from sin unto glory by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (which is the Gospel), and by this separation worked in us by the power of God, God is glorified because of the great work He has done. The regenerate life is a testimony, a witness, a memorial to the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The life of a believer is marked by this. It is God who sets apart; therefore, it is God who is glorified in us.

Man's Responsibility
Romans 1:14  “I am under obligation…”

Obligation marks the life of a servant. It is the obligatory actions of the servant that are required; there will be no praise or award given to the servant, for he is doing what is obligated for him to do. He is employed by the Master, and he seeks to make his Master’s Name and Kingdom great. Thus, he goes out not with his own authority but with the authority of the Master, that all he does may be marked as done by the Master. But, oh, how the Master will reprove the wicked servant who does what the Master does not command; but how loving is the Master when He righteously disciplines His servant.

The servant will not receive honor or glory or power or recognition or long remembrance. The purpose and obligation of the servant is to serve the Master. It is, then, the Master who provides the tools for the servant to use, teaches the servant how to use them, tells the servant where to use them, and meets all the needs the servant may have. Why would the Master do that? Because what master would command his servants to do something and then not provide them with the proper tools in which to do it? It will not be the servants who are shamed or dishonored, though they will be bitter and ungrateful, but the master who will be dishonored and unloved. But by the grace of God, He has given us all that we need in order to serve Him: that by Jesus’ death we might die as slaves to sin, and that by His resurrection, we might live as glorified beings for Him.

And how do we serve Him? If He has given us the tools, the resources, the authority, the power to serve Him, how should we serve Him? Since we have been “set apart for the Gospel of God” (Romans 1:1), we now out of servanthood preach to others the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We labor with others, becoming all things to all people - that is, meeting the needs of all those we meet - in order that we may win some to Christ. If someone is in need of a listening ear, then we listen. If someone is in need of prayer, then we pray with them. If someone is need of food, then we feed them. If someone is in need of rebuking, then we rebuke them. We become all things to all people, “in order that we might save some” (I Corinthians 9:19, 22).

The Master graciously gives us all things because He desires that His Name be glorified. The servants serve out of gratitude for what He has done for them, and what He is doing in them. They do not work or labor or slave out of fear; they do so out of love and gratitude and the fact that there is nothing now apart from the Master for which to live. This is the obligation we live under as believers; an obligation to serve the Master who has done and will do everything for us. It is out of His sovereignty and provision that we submit and obey - that is our responsibility in light of His glory. The Master will finish what He started because His Name is attached to us - and He is always faithful. His power, revealed in the Gospel, is the power and work of God for His own glory. Let us serve Him, as a good and faithful servant would serve a good and faithful Lord.

Lord God, provider of all that we need, would You enlighten Your people to the truth of Your Gospel?  Oh, that we may not tarry as weakened evangelists, but that we may bear bold witness to the great work of God revealed in us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - that in all things You would have the supremacy and glory.  Amen.