Romans
a) Identification and apostolic benediction
(Romans 1:1-7)
1Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God


When Paul was born, he was given the name of Saul, the proud king and member of the tribe of Benjamin. But when the persecutor of the church had witnessed the glory of Christ, he recognized that he was nothing. He then accepted the name “Paul”, which means “the little one”, and he began his famous epistle with the words: I, the little one, am a bondservant of Jesus Christ.
In his statement that he was a bondservant of Christ, Paul had agreed to lose his freedom, and submit himself completely to his master. He willingly emptied and humbled himself, and died to his haughtiness, and therefore lived for the motives of the spirit of Christ, and fulfilled the will of his Lord with great joy. This means that the living Christ himself is the writer of this letter to the Romans, having revealed it to his listening servant. However, this revelation was not made to Paul against his will, but willingly and agreeably, for Christ does not enslave his believers, but leaves them to their own freedom; to believe, and to love, and even to be independent from him. They do not, however, want to be separated from him, for he is the source of love; they rather drown themselves in him.
Paul was exalted to a high rank and station of dignity and honor through his humility as a bondservant of Christ. His Lord had called him to be his apostle in order to spread his kingdom among the nations, providing Paul with authority and rights, just as kings and presidents empower and authorize their ambassadors provided that they continuously keep in touch and in agreement with them. As such, Christ also calls you today directly to his service. Open your heart to the call of Jesus and commit yourself completely to him without delay, in submission and humility, that his power may run from you to others. As Christ’s ambassador to the nations, Paul could change the world with his letters. Nobody, after Christ, is greater than Paul, “the little one”.
What was the good news of Paul, the bondservant of Christ? It was but the glorious gospel of God. Paul did not come with thoughts of his own, but clarified the gospel to the miserable world. The word “gospel” was familiar to the Romans at that time. It was used in the house of Roman Caesar for official announcements, i.e. when a child was born to him, or when he won victory over the enemies. Thus, the word signifies a proclamation of good tidings at the royal family level. However, Paul brought the good tidings of God to men, testifying to the presence of Christ, his victory over the opposing powers, and the results of his salvation, that the hearers might be sanctified, and enter into the divine righteousness.
The holy God separated Paul, the lawyer, and delivered him from his slavery to the evil one. He did so in order that he might deliver those who have brought their necks under the heavy yoke of the law from clinging to good works, and bring them to the age of grace, that they might not redeem themselves by themselves, but enter heaven through Christ, who is the only door which leads to his Father.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you because you called your bondservant Paul, and sent him to the world that we might hear your word through him. Forgive us our haughtiness and self-contentment, and help us to humble ourselves, to become bondservants of your love, and fulfill the will of your kindness with all the believers of the world.
Question
What are the titles, which Paul took for himself in the first sentence of his epistle?