In verse one, Paul explained that he had been set apart by God for the "gospel"(God's "rescue plan" for humanity). Paul then explains that this plan was promised many years before by God's prophets in the Holy Scriptures(referring to the Jewish Scriptures a.k.a. Old Testament). The Greek word for "prophets" here does not limit this to the "prophetic" books of the Old Testament. Jesus was very inclusive when he referred to the Old Testament scriptures that spoke about him.(Luke 24:27,44)(v.2)
Paul says that the scriptures concerned God's "Son". The Greek word "Huios"(used here for "Son") does not simply mean offspring. It refers to someone who has the same characteristics as their father. So a "Huios of God" was a highly significant idea.
Despite his divine nature, the scriptures indicated he would be a physical("according to the flesh") descendant of King David. (Jeremiah 23:5-6, Matthew 1)(v.3)
Paul says that the Son was declared the Son of God because of his resurrection from the dead, which was accomplished by the "Spirit of holiness", a name commonly used by Jews to refer to the Holy Spirit. Paul identifies this "Son" as Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The resurrection of Jesus is vital to the teaching of Jesus, because it proved that Jesus really was the "Huios" of God and was capable of saving us. The resurrection validated the divine identity claims of Jesus. Without the resurrection, Jesus would just be a remarkable man at best and a liar or insane man at worst. And we would all still be doomed for our arrogant rejection of God.(1 Cor. 15:13-17)
Paul also acknowledges the place of Jesus in his life. If Jesus is the Huios of God, than he is able to save us from the punishment our sin deserves. But it logically follows that if Jesus is the Huios of God, he is also deserving of our submission and service. He is our "Lord". Or as we might say today, "Jesus is our boss."(v.4)
It was common in letter writing of this time to use plural pronouns when referring to oneself. Paul does this many times in his letters and Romans is no exception. Paul explains that it was through Jesus that he received undeserved favor from God and the role of an Apostle, which both empowered him to bring about faith-driven obedience among all the Gentiles(non-Jews, though may be better translated "nations" here) for the sake of Jesus' name.
In the original Greek, to do something in Jesus' name means to do something in conformity with his will. When we do something for the sake of Jesus' name, we do it in service to his will. When we tag "in Jesus name" at the end of our prayers, our desire should be in line with his will, not the other way around. (v.5)
Paul was writing to the church in Rome, and he identifies them as also having been called by Jesus Christ. His letter was addressed to those who were loved by God and called as "saints"(set apart from natural living for God's purposes). Combining common Greek and Jewish greetings, Paul prayed in his greeting that God would give the Roman Christians undeserved favor and a sense of calm that comes from being on good terms with God the Father and "the boss", Jesus Christ.(v.7)
Next Week- The Impact of Visible Faith and Christian Relationships
Coffee House Question- How do you think we as Christians can better go about praying "in Jesus' name"?