Do we add Jesus to our broken lives or have we traded our broken life for the one he gives us?
Too often we try to do the first in hopes that we get the second.
Do we try to make our lives better through resolutions or are we resolved to set ourselves apart for Christ?
Do we just want to fit in with the world or do we believe that following Christ sets us apart?
Paul’s life is case in point of someone who was radically changed and set apart by and for the gospel. As we begin a year in his letter to the Romans, we’re going to consider his story and the implications it has not only for our individual lives but for us as a community of believers.
In Paul’s letter to Rome, Paul isn’t just explaining the Christian faith to his readers, he is calling them to a life that is set apart from the world. He wants their lives to look different. This set apart life is the framework for the whole letter. What does it mean to be set apart? How are we set apart? Why are we set apart?
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures—concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh and was appointed to be the powerful Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection of the dead. Through him we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the Gentiles, including you who are also called by Jesus Christ. To all who are in Rome, loved by God, called as saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because the news of your faith is being reported in all the world. God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in telling the good news about his Son—that I constantly mention you, always asking in my prayers that if it is somehow in God’s will, I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I want very much to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. Now I don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I often planned to come to you (but was prevented until now ) in order that I might have a fruitful ministry among you, just as I have had among the rest of the Gentiles. I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. —Romans 1:1-15