Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
January 20, 2004
Lincolnton, N.C.

<001> Thesis: As soon as the "servant" issue is established, the "servant's task" becomes an extremely crucial concern. Introduction: In our study last week, we attempted to do a couple of things. First, we attempted to identify the place Romans has in the New Testament canon of Scripture. Our conclusion is that Romans is Paul's attempt to set forth the essentials of his life-message. He had never been to Rome; so, he could not assume much doctrinal content on the part of his readers. Thus we conclude that the letter contains at least the seed forms of the doctrinal content that is necessary for a believer to grow to maturity in Christ. Then, we attempted to follow Paul's words regarding his self-identity into an understanding of the big picture reality of where his doctrine will take us. We argued that there is no real growth where two issues remain un-confronted and unresolved: first, the issue of the twisted pursuit of status [the Saul/Paul transformation given succinct statement in Galatians 1:10]; and, second, the issue of the twisted pursuit of life by means of 'lordship' [the bondservant nature of both the King/Savior and all who would participate in His Kingdom/Salvation]. Now, if these two issues really are fundamental, they stand as twin guard towers at the Gate of Life. There is no entrance into the reality of Life where there is no recognition of the supreme superiority of the glory that is God [the pictures of Jesus in the Gospels being brought into focus and harmony -- this is why there is salvation in none other] and of the supreme superiority of the glory God has to offer [participation with Him in what He is as that is expressed in relationship to others -- this is why salvation is by faith (faith is a relationally participatory term)]. Thus, once these twin towers are recognized and embraced, the next issue is the one Paul raises in Romans 1:1 with the words "a called apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God".