Called to be Saints

1Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

‘Apostle’ [Greek: apostolosa] delegate, one sent with the full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians, it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went. It is found 81 times and translated apostle 78 times; messenger twice (2Cor. 8:23; Php. 2:25); and once he that is sent (John 13:16). The last apostle [New Testament recorders] was John the apostle as John the Baptist was the last prophet [writers of the Old Testament]. Only twenty-four apostles are recorded: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (Matt. 10:2); James, son of Zebedee and John his brother (Matt. 10:2); Philip and his brother Bartholomew (Matt. 10:3); James, son of Alphaeus and Judas his brother (Luke 6:16) and Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15); Thomas (Matt. 10:3); Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Luke 6:15); Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4); Matthias (Acts 1:26); Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5-6; Acts 13:1-3; 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9); Andronicus (Rom. 16:7); Junia (Rom. 16:7); Apollos (1Cor. 4:6-9); James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1); Silas (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Timothy (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Titus (2Cor. 8:23); Jude (Jud. 1:1); Paul (Gal_1:1; Gal. 2:8); Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1). For lists of the twelve apostles see Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16 and Acts 1:13, 26.

‘Through the will of God’ – by God’s own appointment and will. ‘Sosthenes’ perhaps the same man as in Acts 18:17.

‘Corinth’ – the capital of Greece at this time and seat of the Roman proconsul (Acts 18:12), as Athens was its centre of learning. It was 74 kilometres west of Athens. The worship of Aphrodite [Latin: Venus] and the Ashtoreth of Judges 2:13 was carried on here, with all the Eastern immorality, probably introduced by Phoenicians (1Kin. 11:33). Paul started this congregation in about 52 A.D.

‘Sactified’ [Greek: hagiazo] set apart or consecrate Greek: hagiazo, to separate from a profane to a sacred use; to consecrate self wholly to God and His service. The primary meaning is separation, not making holy. It means to make holy only when the person or thing sanctified needs to be cleansed from sin or defilement in order to be fit to be separated unto God and His service.

‘Saints’ – the salutation is to: The congregation of God at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ and saints. All saved people are saints, so there are no grounds for making people saints after death (Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 6:1-2; 2Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Php. 1:1; Col. 1:2; 2Thess. 1:10; Jude 1:3; Rev. 5:8; 13:7, 10; 17:6).

‘With all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord’ – this proves that Paul intended that this epistle should be the general property of all congregations.

‘Both theirs and ours’ Jesus Christ is the common Saviour of all people. He is not the exclusive Lord of any one nation or denomination.

‘Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ’ – this part of the salutation is in every one of Paul’s epistles except those to Timothy and Titus.

Called to Be Saints

Romans 1:2-7 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ: 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. 

‘Promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures’ in the law, the prophets, and the psalms (Luke 24:44; Acts 3:21; Heb. 1:1) always referring to the Old Testament.

‘Concerning his Son Jesus Christ’ Christ is the great theme of the gospel and the fulfilment of Scripture (Rom. 1:2; Luke 24:44; John 5:39; Acts 1:21-22). ‘His Son’ – not Himself, but His Son (1Jn. 5:7).

‘Was made of the seed of David’ Christ inherited the throne rights through His foster father, Joseph, but not as the seed of David through Solomon and Coniah; He was begotten of God as the Seed of the woman (Mary, who was of another line of David – Nathan’s line). He was, therefore, the rightful heir to the throne of David (Isa. 9:6; 11:1; Matt. 1:1-25; Luke 1:32; Gal. 4:1-31) and He will reign over his kingdom eternally when He comes again – at the second coming (Jer. 23:5-6; Isa. 9:6-7; 32:1; Ezek. 43:7; Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 6:12-13; 14:9; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 15:13-18; Rev. 11:15; 20:1-10; 22:4-5).

‘According to the flesh’ according to human nature (Heb. 2:7-18; Rom. 9:3-5; 1Tim. 3:15; 1Jn. 4:2).

‘Declared’ [Greek: horizo] marked out, manifested to be God’s Son by a display of power (Acts 10:38; John 10:10; Luke 4:18-21). ‘According to’ [Greek: kata] according to, or through the Holy Spirit who raised Him from the dead to prove to all people that He was the true Messiah and Saviour of all mankind (Acts 2:22-36; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 17:31). The Jews crucified Jesus because He claimed to be the Son of God (John 8:40). God resurrected Him because He was the Son of God (Rom. 1:4).

‘By whom we have received grace and apostleship’ by Christ – they, the apostles received grace and apostleship. We receive grace.

‘For obedience to the faith’ this is the test for man in the dispensation of Grace. If man fails to have faith, he is lost (Mark 16:16; John 3:16).

‘Nations’ [Greek: ethnos] Used 29 times in Romans. Translated “Gentiles,” except here; and in Romans 4:17-18; 10:19; 16:26.

‘Called to be saints’ God has called all people and all are free to accept or reject the call (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17). It is His plan that He has foreknown and predestined, not the individual conformity of free wills to the plan. All who do accept the calling, He has foreknown and predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son that His Son might be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29). Those who reject the plan or calling, He has foreknown and predestined to be consigned to eternal hell as an everlasting monument of His wrath on rebels (Isa. 66:22-24; Rev. 14:9-11; Matt. 25:41, 46). This is the sum of foreknowledge and predestination.