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Born Of The Holy Spirit

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 (a) Paul’s favourite title for Jesus is LORD (kurios). In Greek the word kurios describes someone who has undisputed possession of a person or a thing. It means master or owner in the most absolute sense. The opposite of LORD (kurios) is slave (doulos). Paul thought of himself as the slave of Jesus Christ, his Master and his Lord. Jesus had loved him and given himself for him, and therefore Paul was sure that he no longer belonged to himself, but entirely to Jesus. On the one side slave describes the utter obligation of love.

In the Old Testament it is the regular word to describe the great men of God. Moses was the doulos of the Lord (Joshua 1:2). Joshua was the doulos of God (Joshua 24:29). The proudest title of the prophets, the title which distinguished them from other men, was that they were the slaves of God (Amos 3:7; Jeremiah 7:25). When Paul calls himself the slave of Jesus Christ he is setting himself in the succession of the prophets. Their greatness and their glory lay in the fact that they were slaves of God, and so did his.

So then, the slave of Jesus Christ describes at one and the same time the obligation of a great love and the honour of a great office.

(ii) Paul describes himself as called to be an apostle. In the Old Testament the great men were men who heard and answered the call of God.). Paul never thought of himself as a man who had aspired to an honour; he thought of himself as a man who had been given a task. Jesus said to his men, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Paul did not think of life in terms of what he wanted to do, but in terms of what God meant him to do.

 Twice in his life this very same word (aphorozein) is used of him. He was set apart by God. He thought of God as separating him for the task he was to do even before he was born (Galatians 1:15).

(b) He was set apart by men, when the Holy Spirit told the leaders of the Church at Antioch to separate him and Barnabas for the special mission to the Gentiles (Acts 13:2).

(a) He had received grace. In his pre-Christian days Paul had sought to earn glory in the eyes of men and merit in the sight of God by meticulous observance of the works of the law, and he had found no peace that way. Now he knew that what mattered was not what he could do, but what God had done.  “The law lays down what a man must do; the gospel lays down what God has done.” Paul now saw that salvation depended not on what man’s effort could do, but on what God’s love had done. All was of grace, free and undeserved.

(b) He had received a task. He was set apart to be the apostle to the Gentiles. . It may well be that there is a play on words here. Once Paul had been a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5). Pharisee  means The Separated One. It may be that the Pharisees were so called because they had deliberately separated themselves from all ordinary people.  Once Paul had been like that. He had felt himself separated in such a way as to have nothing but contempt for all ordinary men. Now he knew himself to be separated in such a way that he must spend all his life to bring the news of God’s love to every man of every race. Christianity always separates us, but it separates us not for privilege and self-glory and pride, but for service and humility and love for all men.

This is a letter from Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart to serve the good news of God.

(a) Paul’s favourite title for Jesus is LORD (kurios). In Greek the word kurios describes someone who has undisputed possession of a person or a thing. It means master or owner in the most absolute sense. The opposite of LORD (kurios) is slave (doulos). Paul thought of himself as the slave of Jesus Christ, his Master and his Lord. Jesus had loved him and given himself for him, and therefore Paul was sure that he no longer belonged to himself, but entirely to Jesus. On the one side slave describes the utter obligation of love.

In the Old Testament it is the regular word to describe the great men of God. Moses was the doulos of the Lord (Joshua 1:2). Joshua was the doulos of God (Joshua 24:29). The proudest title of the prophets, the title which distinguished them from other men, was that they were the slaves of God (Amos 3:7; Jeremiah 7:25). When Paul calls himself the slave of Jesus Christ he is setting himself in the succession of the prophets. Their greatness and their glory lay in the fact that they were slaves of God, and so did his.

So then, the slave of Jesus Christ describes at one and the same time the obligation of a great love and the honour of a great office.

(ii) Paul describes himself as called to be an apostle. In the Old Testament the great men were men who heard and answered the call of God.). Paul never thought of himself as a man who had aspired to an honour; he thought of himself as a man who had been given a task. Jesus said to his men, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Paul did not think of life in terms of what he wanted to do, but in terms of what God meant him to do.

 Twice in his life this very same word (aphorozein) is used of him. He was set apart by God. He thought of God as separating him for the task he was to do even before he was born (Galatians 1:15).

(b) He was set apart by men, when the Holy Spirit told the leaders of the Church at Antioch to separate him and Barnabas for the special mission to the Gentiles (Acts 13:2).

(a) He had received grace. In his pre-Christian days Paul had sought to earn glory in the eyes of men and merit in the sight of God by meticulous observance of the works of the law, and he had found no peace that way. Now he knew that what mattered was not what he could do, but what God had done.  “The law lays down what a man must do; the gospel lays down what God has done.” Paul now saw that salvation depended not on what man’s effort could do, but on what God’s love had done. All was of grace, free and undeserved.

(b) He had received a task. He was set apart to be the apostle to the Gentiles. . It may well be that there is a play on words here. Once Paul had been a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5). Pharisee  means The Separated One. It may be that the Pharisees were so called because they had deliberately separated themselves from all ordinary people.  Once Paul had been like that. He had felt himself separated in such a way as to have nothing but contempt for all ordinary men. Now he knew himself to be separated in such a way that he must spend all his life to bring the news of God’s love to every man of every race. Christianity always separates us, but it separates us not for privilege and self-glory and pride, but for service and humility and love for all men.

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