All believers have been set apart by the gospel, but have we all been set apart for the gospel? This was Paul’s reality. God had made Paul a minister of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but what about us who have not been called to preach?
Jesus called Paul to be an apostle. Along with seeing the risen Christ, an apostle was dedicated to the spread of the gospel. This calling is not man’s plan—it is God’s plan. The message of Jesus and the salvation he offers did not begin in the New Testament. It is found throughout the Old Testament. It is so clearly presented in the Old Testament that those saved before Christ took on flesh were saved by looking forward to him, the promised seed, through faith.
Jesus, who descended from David, according to the flesh (Romans 1:3), was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:3-4). This truth is no small message. It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). If we are right with God today, it is not because of our good works. Our works only earned us condemnation, for they were tainted with sin and selfishness.
However, in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. The gospel came to us in the power of the Holy Spirit. Like the dry bones dancing in the book of Ezekiel, through the message of the cross and resurrection, the Holy Spirit brought our dead souls to life and produced faith in our hearts, and the righteous shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).
Now that we have new life in Christ, we have been set apart by the gospel. We are no longer dead in our trespasses and sins and no longer live according to the course of this world. However, in one sense, only some believers who have been set apart by the gospel have been set apart for the gospel. There are no longer legitimate apostles today, but there are preachers, teachers, missionaries, and evangelists who God has called to make the spread of the gospel their primary vocation in life. It is a holy and noble calling.
If this is you, your life will not be easy. Your message is in direct conflict with the spirit of this world. However, it is not your strength and ability that gives the gospel its power; it is the Holy Spirit. In the same way you could not save yourself, you cannot save others. Rely entirely on the Spirit of God, and never stray from the gospel. If you do, all your work will be in vain.
For those of us who God has not called to preach, we are not entirely off the hook, and why would we want to be? We are sinners set free. The sins we committed before we came to Christ and the sins we committed after we came to Christ have been washed clean. How can we keep this message to ourselves? The Great Commission is not only for pastors, teachers, and evangelists. It is for every believer.
Even if it is in a lesser sense than those called to full-time ministry, may our lives be set apart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. May we be dedicated to him and may his message of salvation never cease coming from our lips.