Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 8
7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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 "to be" verb "that be/that are".
March 16, 2004
- 1. Paul identifies his readers in regard to their geographical location and in regard to God's regard for them: they are the beloved of God in Rome.
- 2. Then he identifies them in regard to God's activity on their behalf in light of His methodological objective for them: they are"called saints"...i.e., "saints by God's calling".
- a. The term translated "saints" is another adjective used elliptically ["holy ones"]. It is better translated as it is in Mark 1:24.
- b. The meaning of the term is, fundamentally, "participating in absolute dedication": i.e., being so totally committed to a given objective that no variation from it is accepted"..."God is light and in Him is no darkness at all...the Father of Lights with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning (from)..." The idea develops that a "holy one" is one who is absolutely identified with dedication that knows no hesitation or vacillation. There is simply no conflict between the objective and the pursuer of it.
- 1) This is the same word that is used in Revelation 4:8 in the thrice repeated characterization of the Throne Sitter...it is typically translated "holy" (161 times out of 229).
- 2) The issue of the word has its essence in the character of God when it is considered from the perspective of His love: it seems to be connected to what will be done because of what is important. And, there seems to be an absolute commitment to what is important that is terrifying to all who are not that committed. We never find an example in the Scripture of a man who is unafraid when confronted by the holiness of God. Isaiah 6 tells us of the terrible fear in Isaiah when he is confronted with the "holiness" of God because of his "uncleanness" in his sinful state [a state that is nothing more or less than a commitment to loves that are out of kilter with God's]. I John tells us that there is no fear in perfected love, so that holiness and love are apparently united and compatible. Love is the absolute selflessness of the Lover in connection to the need for life in the beloved. God's holiness means that He is committed to a final objective that will be achieved by a purity of wisdom and nothing will be allowed to block the ultimate realization of that objective. Period.
- c. That they are "called" simply fulfills the Romans 8 characterization that The Called are justified, sanctified, and glorified and there is not a single tone of discord at all anywhere. This is all by the calling of God Who initiates the process in human history and brings it to final realization in the eschaton in the post-resurrection glory.
- 1) The issue of "predestination" within the revealed process that has the omnipotence of God behind each step is a "revelation" of the degree to which God is "holy"; i.e., "committed to the accomplishment of the objective regardless of any and all opposition".
- 2) The promise that "all" works together for good for The Called is simply another statement of the level of the divine commitment: nothing at all of any kind will be permitted to undercut the divine objective.
- 3) The "call" is a summons that will not be frustrated. The Called are put on a track to an end that will not be denied.
- a) Sainthood is one of the chief servant-objectives of Love: a kingdom of servants who function in righteousness so that peace can abound unto joy requires an unbending commitment in every servant in that kingdom to the "love" standard of the kingdom.
- b) Those who are "saints by call" have been drawn into the process and put on the track to this end -- and it will not be frustrated, because God is "holy" (i.e., absolutely committed to this end).
- d. The reason for this identity is not delusion: the "saints" are not very "saintly" in action or attitude. Rather, the identity is "hopeful": the destiny of the saints is an incontrovertible future reality that is to be depended upon and used as the basis for choices now. There are lusts that war against our souls, but they will not win and, being thus impoverished in power, are to be treated like the pitiful opponents of omnipotence that they actually are. The "saints" can be as "saintly" as their "hope" permits. To the degree that our hope is denigrated we are enslaved by delusion; to the degree that we recognize our identity as "the holy ones of God" we are established in freedom. That which is decreed will come.