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Mid-Week with Christ
December 18, 2019

Christ our Credential

Romans 1:1-7

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 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, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 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.

Prayer for the Day

Lord, may your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ always be our most important credential before others. Cause us to speak more frequently of your love for us in Christ than we do of ourselves and our own merits. In Christ's name, Amen.

An ambassador chosen to serve on a country's behalf in a foreign land does not simply "show up" and begin work. They cannot walk into a president's office or a government meeting and proclaim that they are ambassador so and so, representing such and such. They must first present themselves to the foreign head of state and be officially recognized. Part of that ceremony involves handing over a credence letter containing the ambassador's official credentials. This letter contains a country's official authorization for the person to serve as an ambassador for the country from which they have been sent.

At the time that Paul wrote his letter to the Roman church, it seems he had not yet visited them in person. The first thing he therefore does is present his credentials for writing to them as a apostle. He writes that he is a servant of Christ Jesus - a disciple - who has been set apart to be an ambassador for the Gospel. He then explains what that Gospel is, rooting Jesus in the Old Testament, proclaiming him as the Lord who has risen from the dead. The first verses of Romans are Paul's credence letter, because he wants the Roman Church to receive him as an ambassador-apostle of Christ himself. 
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