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4.16 Romans -- Minister to the Gentiles

Paul ends his epistle by repeating the title of his office: "a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles" (Rom 15:16).  See also Acts 9:15Rom 1:5Rom 11:13.  The other disciples acknowledged that God had called Paul to this ministry:

          They saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews (Gal 2:7).

          Most likely, they were quite happy that God had chosen him, rather than themselves!  Would anyone have volunteered for a life of constant wandering, street-preaching, getting thrown out of synagogues, and being beaten up by fellow Jews, Greeks and Romans? -- plus having to eat what foreigners ate: meat that probably had been offered to idols!  It was enough to make any observant Jew recoil.


And Paul was no slacker:

          So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum [Albania-Yugoslavia], I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.  It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation (Rom 15:19).

This did not satisfy him, though, since he hoped to visit the Romans on his way to Spain (Rom 15:24).  Spain!  For him, that was as far as you could travel in a westerly direction.  This shows how much Paul had followed the Spirit's agenda, and Jesus' command to bear witness of him "to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).  It had become his life passion to declare the New Covenant -- the mercy and saving power of God offered to all men through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  No more exclusions, no more unworthy, no more unclean, no more walls. 


He may not have made it all the way to Spain.  Maybe, like Moses, he could only glimpse the Promised Land, not set foot in it.  Yet, somewhere during his  many travels, Paul became the very message he preached -- a reconciler, of God to man, and men to each other.

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