Paul began his six-verse self-introduction to the Romans – people he had never met – by giving a few Christ centered statements about himself. But, from there on, he does not even refer to himself.
First, Paul takes “the gospel of God” and describes it clearly in Rom 1:2-4. It is:
Nothing new. God had established it from the foundations of the world, and now Paul was set apart for it. It was not something that he had concocted in his own lifetime. It was something so much bigger than not only himself but his whole nation – a nation set apart for the same purpose.
It was promised. Again, from the foundation of all we know.
It’s not just a story. It’s about God’s very Son, born in the flesh in the line of the greatest king of Israel’s history. And yet, not just a fleshly king, but one who holds the full measure of holiness and deity held by Father God. He is God made man. Wow.
Once Paul puts all that into perspective, in Rom 1:5 he finally comes back to where he fits. Somehow, by some amazing miracle, he received the grace and appointment to be set apart to share this incredible gospel. To encourage others to follow in obedience as well.
Then there is Rom 1:6 which brings it all home. We are called as well. Jesus Himself – this gospel made flesh – has called us to be a part of this incredible phenomenon. To bind ourselves to Him. To be his emissaries of this gospel. To be set apart. To be different. For His sake.
If I were to introduce myself, whether in a letter or in person, how much would be about me and how much would be about Christ and the gospel which I am called to proclaim? I must confess that it would be about as lopsided as Paul’s introduction – just in the opposite direction. I would mention being a child of God, but then it would be about me.
In fact, all I have to do is look at my digital self-introductions on Facebook and in the blog world to see that I have, indeed, done just that. That just might need to change.
Reading this gives me a hunger to just disappear. To be so immersed in Christ that there is no description of me apart from Him. And, it challenges me to take real steps to move in that direction – not just to hunger and long for it, but to live it.