Review of 1-7:
Last week we saw that Paul gave a brief take on:
His apostleship – he was called and set apart by the risen Jesus Christ.
The Gospel – it was promised beforehand, related to David’s kingly line, and was grounded in Jesus’ resurrection.
And importantly, we hit on a very important aspect of Pauline theology.
Paul said Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God”.
This is incredibly important.
This means, in some way, that Jesus has replaced Israel as the Son of God.
Paul “designates Jesus as the true Israel” – Tom Schreiner
“If Jesus is God’s true Son, then membership in the people of God depends on being rightly related to Jesus” – Tom Schreiner.
Tom Schreiner hits on all these together…
“The resurrection of Jesus indicates…that God has begun to fulfill his promises to Israel. The saving promises made to the nation have become a reality in and through the true Israel, Jesus the Messiah” – Tom Schreiner.
Romans 1:8–15 (ESV) — 8 First [Let me begin (NEB)], I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
Paul moves on from his introduction and gives thanks for the faith of the Roman church.
He no doubt hyperbolizes this faith – in a complimentary way – by saying it is “proclaimed in all the world” (vs. 8).
But note that he rightly gives thanks to “my God through Jesus Christ” (vs. 8) for their faith.
N.T. Wright fleshes out the “thanks” of Paul.
Paul is “thanking the maker of heaven and earth that there is a community in Rome, under Caesar’s nose, who give allegiance to Jesus as Lord, who have been grasped by the vision of a different kingdom, a different hope, and who share a different faith” – N.T. Wright.
Wright’s visual here reminds me of something Jesus said.
The church in Rome – perhaps only a 100, scholars say – demonstrates beautifully Jesus’ words about the “already” or “now” Kingdom of God.
Matthew 13:31–32 (ESV) — 31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field [the now kingdom]. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree [the not yet kingdom], so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
The church at Rome was one of the mustard seeds – right underneath the emperor’s nose.
Please read the remainder of this study here.