Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 6
6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
1901 ASV Translation:
6 among whom are ye also called to be Jesus Christ's:
There are no differences between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26, and the translations vary only in the way the translators treat the genitive "of Jesus Christ/to be Jesus Christ's".
March 2, 2004
- 1. The "among whom are ye also" phrase ties back to verse 5 where Paul identifies his apostleship to the issue of generating "obedience out of faith among the nations"...i.e., the Roman believers fall under Paul's stewardship.
- 2. The "called of Jesus Christ/called to be Jesus Christ's" issue is the question of two basic issues: does Paul use the term "called" with an implied "to be" idea, or does he use the term to characterize the identity (such as a "called apostle" as opposed to a volunteer)?; and, does Paul use the genitive "of Jesus Christ" to identify Jesus as the possessor of the called, or the originator of the call?
- a. The issue of "calling" comes up in three times in this intro (1:1, 6, & 7).
- 1) Paul is a "called apostle" or he was "called to be an apostle" or he is "called 'an apostle' ".
- 2) The believers in Rome are "called Jesus Christ's" or they are "called by Jesus Christ".
- 3) They are also "called saints" or they are "called to be saints" or are they "called 'saints' ".
- b. This is not an either/or issue theologically since to be a "called apostle" obviously includes the idea that he was "called to be an apostle" and it would automatically result in his being called "an apostle". The difference in meaning is that a "called apostle" is one who has the major characteristic of "being who he is by summons" whereas "called to be an apostle" has the major characteristic of introducing God's objective in calling Paul whom He has set about to make "an apostle" and being called "an apostle" has the idea of someone attributing to him the authority that automatically rests upon one who is an apostle. The question is whether Paul was thinking in terms of the entire salvation scenario that he unveils in chapter 8 (The Called... foreknown... predestinated... called... justified... glorified) so that his apostleship is the consequence of his being one of "The Called" and the Romans' participation in the obedience that comes out of faith is a consequence of their being among "The Called", or whether he was thinking in terms of the resultant identity they possess as those who are under Paul's Gentile-stewardship: they are called "Jesus Christ's" by someone and they are also called "saints" by someone.
- c. That the terminology comes up three times in this one paragraph implies that Paul has "calling" on his mind and wants the Romans to think about what he is saying with that emphasis in mind. This implies (at least to me) that Paul has more than "identity" in mind. He could have created the sense of 'identity' by simply writing, "Paul, an apostle...to those who are Jesus Christ's who are saints in Rome". Therefore, the question then becomes: what is the idea behind focusing upon these identity issues by using the adjective "called" (as opposed to the verb "called"). [Personally, it is my opinion that the ideas of "called to be..." and "called 'an apostle/saint' " must involve "called" as a verb and not as an adjective.] The answer seems to be that there is a fundamental concept that needs to be associated with the identity issues and that concept is the "methodology" issue: neither Paul, nor the Romans were who they were by any methodological approach that ignores the primacy of the Divine Call. He is an apostle by the calling of God; they, among the Nations, belong to Jesus Christ by the calling of God; and they are saints by the calling of God. They are, in Paul's later terminology (Romans 8:28) "The Called" [an elliptical title that turns an adjective into the equivalent of a noun that omits the identity word: "The Called People" (Romans 9:25), or "The Called Children" (Romans 9:26)]. This means, then, that Romans, as a letter, must be approached in the humility of those who recognize that they are who they are "by the grace of God" as opposed to "by the faithfulness of man". The "credit/blame" game that man plays almost all of the time invariably looks for a "reason in man" for both God's blessings as well as His curses. This turns truth on its head in a subtle form because man wants "consistency": if he is to be blamed for the curses, he wants credit for the blessedness, and if he is to be credited with the blessedness, he must accept the responsibility of the cursedness. The truth is that man is under the burden of cursedness, but he can never claim to be the cause of his own blessedness.
- d. The reference to Jesus Christ. In the Nestle/Aland 26 text, this name has a reversed order in verse 1 so that it is "Christ Jesus" (probably because the order of his own identity is first "bondservant" of the King [Christ] and then a "called apostle" of the Savior [Jesus]). But, in verses 4, 6, and 7, the order is turned to "Jesus Christ" in both Textus Receptus and Nestle/Aland 26. It is clear from verses 3-4 that Paul's "order" is "Jesus", then "Christ" because "Jesus" came of the seed of David (verse 3), and "Christ" was so designated at the resurrection when He actually entered into the realm of the Spirit of Holiness (verse 4). But, order aside, the issues here are two-fold: there is the "Jesus" issue that focuses upon the identity as "Savior" [...ye shall call Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins...]; and there is the "Christ" issue that focuses upon the identity as "King" [...where is He that is born King of the Jews?...he asked where the Christ should be born...]. To be one who is said to belong to this Person is to be a participant in both of His "identity-functions" -- salvation and rule. "The Called who belong to Jesus Christ" is Paul's great umbrella identification of those who come under the scope of his stewardship from God. In this, his basic introduction of himself to those in Rome, he has been very briefly bringing the most crucial issues into play (bondservant, apostle, most basic underpinning and content of the Gospel, and his own stewardship in respect to his readers). Thus, we can conclude that his designation of his readers as "The Called who belong to Jesus Christ" is his most basic (crucial) identification of them in light of his Gospel and stewardship. There is this that needs to be grasped: the "calling" includes both deliverance from sin and a stewardship unto rule in the Kingdom.