Romans 1:4b-7 … Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
You see, the key that is missing for every single person born is God. In order for you to go to God, choose God, worship God, and serve God, you will need God.
You are going to need a God who acts before you.
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Romans 8:28-30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Too much Pauline for you? Let us look at what Christ said himself:
John 15:12-17 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
This is Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith, through whom we have received grace and apostleship.
First, what is grace? Moses, the author of Genesis, would first mention God’s grace in the His proclaimation of the gospel starting chapter 3 verse 15 to the receiving of saving grace in verse 21:
Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
Genesis 3:21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
I think so many people miss that portion of Adam and Eve’s response to the gospel. But where we see it even more tangibly is in the calling of Noah.
Genesis 6:5-10 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
You want to know what true grace is all about?
- The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. - We are wicked sinners before a righteous God. Every single one of us. Later in Romans, Paul will quote the Psalms in this ultimate and absolute truth in Romans 3:10-12 as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. We have all turned away from God and regarded as lost.
- But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. - In the current Evangelical era, we do not struggle so much with Antinomianism in the American church. That is, the laws of God do not apply to us and therefore we are free to sin all the more because of God’s grace for us. “But Joseph,” you might retort, “it seems as though everybody is doing what is right their own eyes.” You give me an American who outright rejects the commandments of God and I will show you a former hardcore Christian legalist who, indeed, tried to do what was right in their own eyes by trying to strived to earn the love of God, and then, as always, buckled and broke under the weight of that self-righteousness. True righteousness only comes from someone outside of yourself for God declares our own righteousness as filthy rags. We attempt to read the story of Noah and try to make Noah a righteous man from the beginning. But the Scriptures adamantly declare, “No one is righteous, no not one.” Noah, being like any other man, was wicked in the sight of God. Noah’s thoughts within his heart were only evil continually. In order for Noah for to be made righteous, God’s favor, that is, his grace would need to fall upon Noah’s wicked heart.
- Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. - Pay attention to the order: Noah was wicked. God gives saving grace. Noah is then righteous, blameless, and walked with God.
Again, we do not and cannot earn the grace of God. If we could earn the grace of God, it would be then cease being the grace of God. More like, this is the achievement of God–which sounds impossible to earn.
Why do we think we can get away from not preaching the gospel of God every single moment of our lives? Without it, we stray into self-righteousness and its effects.
Second, hat does it mean to receive apostleship wthrough Jesus Christ? Understand that while the Twelve original Apostles and along with them, Paul, are no longer with us, they are very much tasked in the same way that every single discple of Christ has been commissioned to do.
Are you a disicple of Christ? If you believe, trust, and obey Christ, you my friend, are His disciple.
If you are His disciple, here is what you have been commissioned by Christ to go and do:
Matthew 28:16-20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Mark 16:14-20 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]
Luke 24:44-49 Then he said to them, These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.
Acts 1:6-8 So when they had come together, they asked him, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? He said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
You have three Gospel Authors giving three different accounts of the essentially the same Great Commission: raise disciples, proclaim the gospel, and bear witness of Jesus Christ. If you are Christ’s followers, this is what you must do. Now that you know you have received this apostleship, go and do.