Note 2 on Romans 1:1: Discovering and Fulfilling God's Will for your Life
Rom 1:1 (KJV): Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.
This simply means that his work as an apostle was limited to the gospel (good news or good tidings) of God.
'Called' there means appointed or ordained. The words “to be” are italicized in the King James Version (KJV) because they are not in the original Greek manuscript and were only added by the KJV translators to aid understanding of the sentence. This is because the word, ‘called’ here is translated from the Greek word, ‘klētos’ which primarily means invited. As such, the sentence would have read: invited an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.
However, in usage, especially in the epistles, the word is used in reference to Christians in ways that suggest the meaning of designated or appointed. Therefore, Paul in Rom. 11:13; 2 Cor.1:1; Col. 1:1 plainly describes himself as an apostle. And even if we were to take the meaning as ‘invited’ it would still connote a designation as an apostle for an invitation by royalty or a governing authority to an office is equal to an appointment to that office.
An "apostle" literally and originally meant one who is sent away. It is translated from the Greek word, apostolos, which means one sent away. Apostolos is derived from another word, apostello which refers to the act of sending someone away. This definition and root meaning is similar to that of the word missionary, which is got from the Latin words missiōn- and mittere-to send.
The person being sent away is sent away for a purpose, to do something. Thus, when Jesus appointed to Himself the twelve, whom He named apostles (Lk.6:13) we are told in Mk.3:14 that Jesus appointed the twelve so that they could be with Him and that He could send them out to preach and do a couple of other things. The word 'send' used there is apostello in the Greek.
Also, in 2 Cor. 8:23, the two brethren whom Paul sent along with Titus, who were to be regarded as messengers (or apostolos as it is rendered in the Greek) of the churches were sent for a reason- to complete or prepare the freewill offering of the Corinthian church.
In these two instances, the sent ones are also representatives. In the first instance, the twelve apostles are clearly Jesus's representatives. They were His disciples and servants, plus, they were not going out on their own accord, initiative, or authority, they were going out (to do those things) because He sent them to do so.
In the second instance, Paul wrote that the two brethren sent by him were to be regarded as sent ones of the church. In other words, Paul was writing that they should be seen as representatives of the churches.
Therefore, an apostle is a messenger or a sent one, sent to do something and as a representative or, as we have earlier seen, an apostle is simply put, a missionary.
‘Separated' means to be set apart or limited to a particular thing, while 'gospel' means good tidings, that is, good news or a favourable report of events. Gospel of God therefore means the good news or message of God.
Therefore, when he says he is called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God he means he has been appointed a sent one or missionary, whose mission is limited to the good news of God. This means that his mission is limited to delivering or preaching (bringing or announcing good news) the good news of God. See Gal.1:15-16 and 1 Cor. 1:17 (where the word ‘sent’ is apostello).
In short, he means, he is a sent one, sent to preach the gospel of God!
One thing we can learn from this is that Paul knew exactly who he was and what his purpose in life was- a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God. And the good thing is, they were both founded on and centered in Christ. The fact that he was a tradesman (a tent maker) was not what defined him.
Likewise, our jobs, businesses or careers should not define us. Our identity, self-worth, and purpose in life should instead be founded in Christ for he saith:
*[[Psa 100:3]] KJV* Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
The Bible lets us know that even before we were born God had a plan for each and every one of us. Regardless of the circumstances of our birth, our lives are not accidents. We are all meant to live purposeful lives. See the following Scriptures:
(Gal 1:15,16 KJV
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
Jer. 1:4,5 KJV
Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Eph 2:10 KJV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. See also Titus 2:14; Eph.1: 4.
So how do we discover and fulfill God’s will for our lives?
Scripture gives us answers.
Through reading and understanding the Scriptures:
The Bible says that Scripture makes us wise concerning the salvation which is by faith in Jesus Christ- 2 Tim. 3:16. In other words, the Scriptures make us wise (inclusive of the practical expertise) concerning the salvation (which includes the plan and purpose of God for our lives) which we have by faith in Jesus. Therefore, by reading and understanding the Scriptures, we receive wisdom and expertise concerning that which God has planned for us as believers in Christ.
The Bible, explaining further in 2 Tim. 3:17, says that all Scripture is given so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly or fully equipped for every good work God has prepared beforehand (this means that ere before we came on the scene God had already arranged)- that we should walk in; be fully engaged in them/do them; completely dominant in them; to have complete mastery; be masters in those deeds.
Through speaking to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Ephesians 5:15-20 teaches us that being wise is understanding what the will of the Lord is which, per Col. 3:16,17, occurs by speaking to (or teaching) ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, in doing the above, we come to a place of understanding of what the Lord’s will for us is. We also understand, from Eph.5:15-20 that it is by being filled with the Spirit or through the wisdom of God or through understanding what the will of the Lord is that we walk accurately or carefully making the most out of every opportunity or set time.
Looking at it from Col.3:16,17, we learn that in teaching and admonishing one another (or speaking to ourselves- Eph.5:19) in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord, we are letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom- this includes God’s wisdom for us. This means that as we do this we give room for our hearts to be filled with the multifaceted wisdom of the word of Christ (the Gospel), in other words, we are being fully and diversely enlightened by the Gospel of Christ as we do so and therein is it fulfilled that in His light do we see light! Ps.36:9 In the glorious gospel of Christ we become richly illuminated.
Through the person of God, the Holy Spirit: we fulfil destiny by the guidance of the Spirit.
(Joh 16:13 KJV)
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
(1Jn 2:27 KJV)
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. The anointing is the Holy Ghost.
One of the ways through which the Holy Ghost guides and teaches us (even concerning God’s plan and will for our lives) is through speaking in tongues. This is because from Acts 2:4 we know that when we speak in tongues we are speaking as the Holy Ghost is giving us utterance, that is, we are speaking or declaring forth God’s wisdom for our lives – the things which God has prepared for us- in words which the Holy Ghost teaches. See 1 Cor.2:7,9,10,13. We can also speak in tongues and in the interpretation of the tongues.
Another way is through the hearing of faith, that is the preaching of the gospel. This is like making confessions of faith.
The Bible makes us understand that it is only through the Spirit that we can be perfected- made complete, fulfilled, accomplished- Gal.3:3 and that it is in the hearing of faith that we give room for the Spirit’s work in our lives- Gal.3:2,3,5.
Additionally, the Bible lets us know in Eph. 5:18,19 that we are filled with the Holy Spirit through speaking to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And when we are full of the Holy Spirit we give room for the Spirit to work in and through us. See for example, Acts 2:4 where it is recorded that as they were filled with the Holy Spirit they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
In sum, we discover and fulfil the will, plan, and purpose of God for our lives through the reading and understanding of the Scriptures and through the person of God the Holy Spirit in our lives.