Reprint from the May 1977 W&W

     Paul closes the first verse (as we divide his writings) of his letter to the Romans by saying he was “separated unto the gospel of God.” In Galatians 1:15 he tells us how early God had “separated him” when he said, “God who separated me even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace.” I presume, however, that Paul is here in Romans speaking of the time God put this into practical application by separating him from his former fleshly ways, in which he had begun to make quite a reputation for himself, and separated him unto the great good news that He had given the world. Let us never forget that the gospel is good news and that it is God’s good news to men who deserve to be cast into hell but who can have eternal life and spend eternity in heaven if they will believe that gospel.

     Notice then, that God does separate His servants. Negatively He separates them from the things of this world, from fleshly ambitions, from serving self, from all that does not bring glory to Him. But God, who starts negatively so often, never stops on the negative side. He separates positively unto something that is perfect, therefore to something He provides Himself, and that perfect thing is the good news that ”Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures;” and then that He proved His resurrection by appearing to many and His ascension into Heaven by appearing to Paul (1 Cor. 15:3-8). That is the good news that every Christian is called to proclaim to others, the good news unto which we have been separated from this age to glorify Cod.

     I wonder how many of my readers have read many times this statement here in Romans 1:1 and never applied it to himself. Scripture is not given to provide theological arguments and tickle our imaginations. it is given to be used, and specifically to be used to glorify God through Christ Jesus. Are you leading a life “separated unto the gospel” or are you so filled with “good” human duties of home, work, and even church that you give the impression to others that the gospel, whereby men may be saved, is not important to you? Like Paul, turn from other interests and concentrate on the important-be separated unto the gospel. Paul made tents when he needed to, he watched after a number of helpers and did not neglect his earthly duties, but his primary interest was not in the things of this world, for he knew that the gospel is man’s only hope and that God has chosen to reveal that gospel to men through us. Let us not desert the path He has given us.

Ernest Lyon went to be with his Lord in 2005. He was long time minister for the Highland Church of Christ in Louisville, Ky, and was Professor of Music at the University of Louisville until his retirement after 47 years..