Here we are five days into our Romans study and still on verse 1. I think we will be to verse 2 on Sunday; So just hang on.
If you have missed our previous conversations on Romans please find them on the
Today we are beginning to speak about one of the major themes in Romans. It is the idea of being “set apart”.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.
Right from the get-go Paul tells us he is two things. He is called, which we already said meant he was “invited”; And he is “set apart”. The Greek word Paul uses here is “aphorizo”. It means Paul is-marked off from others by boundaries, he was limited, or separated from others.
Paul starts his letter by saying, “I am different from other people. I am limited in ways other people are not limited. I have boundaries within which I live that other people don’t have.”
Once again it is important to note that these limits were not imposed by God. Paul was invited into them by God. They were necessary but they were not forced. Paul needed the boundaries because they were good for him. In fact we will learn later in this letter that those boundaries are actually part and parcel of the salvation that comes from God. Paul needed the boundaries, the limits because only inside of them could he walk in the fullness of power.
Paul helps us to understand the idea of being “set apart” or limited in his first letter to the Corinthians when he writes,
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:23
Paul was set apart not just as an apostle but as a Christian. What that means is that those of us in the rank and file are really no different from the apostle in respect to being set apart. If Paul was different from others, we should be different from others. If Paul had boundaries he had to live within, we should have the same boundaries. If Paul was limited in his choice of behaviors, we should have limits. If Paul had to separate himself from the world, we have to separate ourselves from the world.
Now what in the world do you think that means?