So, verse one may look like it is about the author of the letter; but behind every phrase is Someone far greater.
- God bought him by the death of his Son,
- God called him to be an apostle (Galatians 1:15; 1 Corinthians 1:1),
- God set him apart from before he was born.
And he did it all, “for the gospel of God” – which we will look at next week. In other words, even in the first verse we hear Romans 11:36, “From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever.”
Leon Morris is exactly right when he says,
“God is the most important word in this epistle. Romans is a book about God. No topic is treated with anything like the frequency of God. Everything Paul touches in this letter he relates to God. In our concern to understand what the apostle is saying about righteousness, justification and the like we ought not to overlook his tremendous concentration on God. There is nothing like it elsewhere” (The Epistle to the Romans [Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988), p.40).
Indeed there isn’t. This is why the epistle has had the effect it has. It is from God and through God and to God.
- God chose the author before he was born.
- God purchased his freedom by the death of his Son.
- God called him to be an apostle.
- And then God gave him a gospel – the Gospel of God himself.
- So God is at the bottom and God is at the top and God is in the middle.