This whole blessed idea of calling is brought up again in verse 7, where Paul distinctly enunciates the people to whom he is writing: “all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…”  Of course, this is one of those countless places in the New Testament where “all” cannot be taken in the broadest sense.  He does not refer to every single inhabitant of the city of Rome, for surely the majority of them were still pagan.  He is referring to all the Christians in the church, or churches, of Rome.  In fact, we might say that the following phrase “called to be saints” modifies the “all” of the previous clause.  It is to the inhabitants of Rome who have been called by God out of heathen darkness into the glorious light of Christ to be His saints that the apostle has taken pen in hand to address this great epistle.  We might incidentally here make note of the fact that “saint” is not some exalted Christian who lived above the realm of the ordinary faithful, as the papacy teaches, but it is a name which may commonly be applied to every person who is redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.

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To these brethren in Rome, Paul wishes his apostolic benediction of grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such words as these are so common in the apostolic writings that we are often tempted to skim over them without thought, but in truth they contain a summary of everything that we ought to be praying for ourselves and for our fellow believers.  Never a moment passes that we do not stand in need of the abiding grace of God, for it is only the presence of that grace which keeps us from falling.  A continuing sense of the grace of God which sent Christ into the world to be the redeemer of sinful men is most necessary to keep up the spirit of the believer, and to motivate him to true holiness in heart and life.  Concomitant with that grace is the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.  It is not the transitory peace that the world gives when the sea of our life is untroubled, our larders full, our wives happy, and our children obedient.  This peace vanishes the moment we face poverty and our family turns against us.  But the peace of God, if it has truly come from God, can abide the hottest fires of trial a man may experience upon this earth.  It is only lost when we turn our eyes away from the grace of God revealed in Christ.  But it is God the Father and His eternal and co-equal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ Who must keep the fires of grace burning bright, in order that we fail not.  Our reliance is upon Him, not only for our salvation in eternity, but also for the blessings and benefits which sustain our bodies and souls day by day.  Nothing places us in greater peril than the withdrawal, even a temporary withdrawal, of His gracious hand.

 

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