Notes on Romans 1:7

Notes on Romans 1:7

Verse 7
(Rom 1:7 KJV) To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

To all that be in Rome

This epistle was addressed to the Christians in Rome but it is applicable to Christians everywhere throughout the ages as all of Scripture is for “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”- 2 Ti.3:16,17 (KJV). Plus, it’s a continuation of “are ye the called of Jesus Christ” in Romans 1:6 which applies to all believers.

“beloved of God, called [to be] saints”

From the above we see that it is because God loves us that He has called us saints. (“to be” is not in the original and was added by the King James Version translators so the text should read “called saints”. Furthermore, as has been explained in the Notes on the previous verse, Christians everywhere are already saints regardless of their actions.)

Also, as explained in the Notes on verse 6, ‘called’ there means designated or appointed while ‘saints’ literally means holy or sacred, which simply means something or someone separate; unique, one-of-a-kind, uncommon (and therefore inspiring awe or reverence). More accurately, in 1Cor.1:2, ‘saints’ refers to those who have been sanctified (separated) in Christ. This means that per Scriptures, saints are those who have been separated with Christ. That is, they are as separate as Christ is. Therefore he (the writer of Hebrews) says in Heb 2:11 (KJV) For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.

Thus, the phrase ‘called saints’ simply refers to how we are seen, the name we’ve been given to by God or a description of who we are by God: saints; the people who are as separate (unique, uncommon) as Christ is or, put simply, Christ-like. And it’s not because of our own doing that we’ve been made Christ-like or designated saints, it is quite simply an act of God’s love.

This means that:

We are holy. Remember, saint means one who is holy and holy simply means separate and as was explained above, we are as holy (separate) as Christ is. We are not about to be holy rather we are already holy. See Heb.3:1; Col.3:12; 1 Thess.5:27; 1Pet.2:9. In fact, we are most holy for Christ is Lord and there is none holy as the Lord: 1 Sam.2:2. See also

However, this does not mean that we are not required to live or be holy, i.e. exhibit Christ-like conduct. Scripture still admonishes us to be holy. See for example 2 Cor.6:16-7:1 and 1 Peter 1:15,16: “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” This means that, in as much as God who has called us (His sons, to glory, to be His temple, etc.) is separate we (who are already Christ-like) should also be Christ-like (for Christ is our separation and the express image of God) in all that we do.
It must however, be carefully noted that living holy is not a function of willpower or attempting to do the right or good things rather it is a function of walking by faith. See Rom.6:16-19,22,23. Basically, these verses teach us that walking by faith naturally results in holiness (obedience there refers to faith cf. Rom.1:8; 16:19). 

We are beloved of God! Not only is this simply and expressly stated: “beloved of God” it is also evinced by the fact that He has designated us saints which is why he says, “beloved of God, called [to be] saints.” In other words, that God has designated or termed us as separate as Christ is, is proof that He loves us. This is because it means that in the sight of God, we are in the same class as the Lord (and invariably in God’s class). It means that we are as unique as He is; that “as He is so are we in this world” (1John 4:17 ). 

It means that just as He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person (Heb.1:3) so are we. It is proof that He loves us because it lets us know that regardless of how we feel, our backgrounds, what we’ve done (or not done), in the sight of the God of all, we are as holy; special and unique as His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. 

It is proof that He loves us because we did not merit any of it and being but flesh and blood and His slaves (see Notes on Romans 1:1 part 1), it means He has brought into the class of divinity. Therefore, John the Apostle writing in 1 John 3:1 exclaims, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

The Father and the Son are one. The equality of the Father and the Son are confirmed in these verses (vv.6,7) such that when it is said that the Son has called us- Rom.1:6, we are made to understand that it is the same thing as the Father calling us: Rom. 1:7; 1Cor.1:26 and such that when it is said that God our Father has sanctified us: Rom.1:7, it is the same thing as the Son has sanctified us: Heb.2:11.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace here simply signifies favour. It is that disposition of God towards a man whereby He commits all His resources to the benefit of that fellow. It can also be defined as that disposition of God towards a man whereby divine privileges accrue to the fellow. It is unmerited which is why it is usually defined as unmerited favour or goodwill.

Peace here signifies the harmonious relationship that exists between God and man with its attendant benefits of rest and calm.

Now, since these two are good things and are from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and because Paul, who has already identified himself as an apostle- one sent as a representative to deliver God’s good news or good message (Gospel) to the peoples of the earth, is communicating with the church in Rome for the very first time: Rom.1:13-15, we can conclude that the message of the Gospel is a message of grace and peace (everlasting peace with God and in life)! See the following:

(Act 14:3 KJV) Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

(Act 20:32 KJV) And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

(Act 10:36 KJV) The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

(Rom 10:15 KJV) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

(Eph 2:17 KJV) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Thus, far from being a mere form of salutation, the apostle Paul is delivering the message of the Gospel. This is instructive.

As this salutation appears in almost all the epistles to the churches, it means that as Christians (or as saints) regardless of our deeds or lack thereof, God’s grace and peace are available to us. This means we’ve been preferred by the Lord and all of God’s resources- the full weight of His person and strength, are available at our disposal, divine privileges (including freedom from divine prosecution) have been extended to us, and we are on friendly terms with God. As a matter of fact, God is pleased with us and because He is pleased we’ve got rest within and on every side. Whoa! Glory! This is some good news! It is the best news ever!

It means He makes even our enemies to be at peace with us- Prov. 16:7

It means He has prepared a table before us in the presence of our enemies- Ps.23:5

It means no matter the raging storms, it is well with us!

It means touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm- Ps.105:15.

It means God’s not angry with you and I, He’s got no anger left in Him for us- Eph.5:2; 1John 4:10.

It all sounds too good to be true but beloved, it is true! It’s all part of how He has separated us from the rest of the world- we are the object of Divine preference; we’ve been exempted from divine prosecution and punishment! We are the apple of His eye- Deut.32:10; Zech.2:8.

If it still sounds too good to be true remember, that it is free doesn’t mean it wasn’t costly- Jesus purchased this for us. The Gospel is the good news of God concerning His Son. This means that we are favoured by God and have peace with Him because of what His Son accomplished!

Notice that even though the Roman church was very knowledgeable spiritually- Rom.15:14; and their faith was commendable and very popular; in other words, a prosperous faith- Rom.1:8; 16:19, Paul still found it necessary to begin by reminding them that they were divinely favoured (without any effort of theirs) and that God was pleased with them and had extended his rest and calm to them. This lets us know that the message of God’s amazing grace and peace is something we will always need to hear: see Acts 20:32; 1 Cor.15:2; Heb.2:1,2; 3:13.

God is our Father and we are joint-heirs with Christ. By describing God as our Father, we understand that God, the omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent being who created the universe- the heavens, earth, the seas and all that is in them, is father to us. He is not one whom we must dread; He is our father. 

Against the backdrop of a conventional understanding of God describing God as our father bespeaks an intimacy between us and Divinity. And because it is a fatherhood authored by God apart from us it means that we can count on His fatherhood apart from our works. He is ALWAYS going to be our Father, we can ALWAYS count on Him: Matt.7:11; Luke 11:13; 12:32. It also means that just like Him we are supernatural beings: Phil.3:20. It means that we are gods: John 10:34,35. Additionally, if God is our Father and also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: see Rom.1:2, it means we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ: Rom.8:17.

Another lesson to be learnt from the salutation is the deity of the Lord Jesus. By ascribing the (source of the) gifts of grace and peace to both God the Father and the Lord Jesus, the apostle Paul is confirming the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. His equality with God our Father is not just implied it is given.


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