Paul greets the readers of Romans with a statement of his identity.
There are three things he says in this opening verse in Romans 1. First, he declares himself a servant of Jesus Christ. Next he tells us his calling as an apostle. Then he reveals the purpose of these roles.
The first role is one any Christian can claim. We serve Jesus because He has purchased us with His own blood. He has every right to expect loyalty from us.
The thought of being a servant might bother you. A servant sounds like someone who waits on a rich person. Or maybe it’s the staff in a restaurant who receive a pittance to meet your needs. You might even consider service to be a form of slavery.
All these things may be true in some sense in the world of work and relationships. But our relationship with Jesus is different. We are servants who are deeply and lavishly loved. In fact, in John 15:15, Jesus calls us His friends!
Who would not want to serve a Master like that?
The second role Paul has is apostle. There were only a few of these. Apostles were commissioned by Jesus Himself while He wore flesh and walked the earth. He gave these men power to heal in His name, proclaim the Gospel with power, and give the promised Holy Spirit by laying their hands on people. For a time, God used these men to pen the New Testament and spread the Gospel to Gentiles throughout the known world.
So you can’t be an apostle. Does that mean God loves you less? Not at all! The very same Blood that washed away the sins of the apostles washes you clean too. The same atonement that gave the apostles power sets you free from the heavy chains of guilt that bind you. You’ve been made over to sing about how great Jesus is to the people around you.
This is the Gospel that Paul was set apart for. It’s the same good news that makes your life worth living, no matter what is happening in your world.