Eternal Son, Davidic Son, Messianic Son: An Exposition of Romans 1:1–7 -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 162:645 (Jan 2005)
Article: Eternal Son, Davidic Son, Messianic Son: An Exposition of Romans 1:1–7
Author: David J. MacLeod


Eternal Son, Davidic Son, Messianic Son:
An Exposition of Romans 1:1–7

David J. MacLeod

David J. MacLeod is Dean of the Division of Biblical Studies, Emmaus Bible College, Dubuque, Iowa, and Associate Editor of The Emmaus Journal.

In the profoundly moving book, War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, one of the most memorable passages describes the night at Russian headquarters, October 11, 1812, when a messenger brought to General Kutuzov, the old commander-in-chief, the first news of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. After years of awful strain and agony, the tidings sounded too good to be true. The envoy finished his report and then waited for orders in silence. Kutuzov tried to speak, but not a word would come. Finally the old man turned to where the icons stood against the wall. Suddenly and unrestrainedly he cried in a trembling voice, “Lord! My Creator! Thou hast heard our prayer. Russia is saved. I thank Thee, O Lord.” And then he burst into tears.1

The envoy of the gospel of Jesus Christ is charged with tidings more moving and more wonderful by far. If this message is fantasy, then there is no hope for humanity anywhere. If the message is true, then there is deliverance not just for Russia, but for the whole world.2 The apostle Paul was an envoy of the gospel, and he was gripped by his calling and the message he was commissioned to bring. He traveled from one end of the Roman Empire to the other with the gospel, and as he went, people were delivered from their sins, churches were founded, leaders were instructed, the needy were comforted, and the disorderly were rebuked. The effects of his work are seen in every continent on earth. Cultures have been

transformed, and human society shows the imprint of the message of this great apostle. What was this message that drove him, that gave him a vision and a song? He summarized it in the opening words of his greatest letter, the letter to the Roman Christians (written in the winter of a.d. 56–57). In the opening verses of the epistle Paul presented a humble-minded assessment of his calling (v. 1), his deep appreciation of his message (vv. 2–6), and his warmhearted interest in his readers (v. 7).

Paul’s Humble-Minded Assessment of His Calling (v. 1)3

The Author

The salutation of the Epistle to the Romans is one of the apostle’s ...

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