Chapter 1:1–5

The term “apostle” means sent by God to complete a specific mission and endowed with necessary powers to complete that mission. In the case of the Twelve, this mission was to preach the Gospel all the nations (Matt 28:16–20), to all creation (Mark 16:15), to be Christ’s witnesses (Acts 1:8). In the case of Paul, it was a mission to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (Gal 2:7).

Paul writes that the source of his apostleship is God the Father and Christ the Lord. He indicates that he was not sent to preach the Gospel by the Twelve - “not of men”, nor was he sent by a particular man like Barnabas or Ananias - “neither by man” (1:1). Since, he was sent by the Father and Jesus Christ, he was endowed with necessary powers to complete this task.

Regarding Jesus Christ, Paul adds here that Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father. This fact alone indicates God’s justice. By raising Jesus from dead to life, God showed Jesus’ righteousness and condemned all those forces and people collaborating with those forces. This aspect of the resurrection is seen in Peter’s first sermon explaining the meaning of Psalm 16:8–11 (see Acts 2:24–36). By meeting the risen Christ (Acts 9:1–9), Paul became a witness of Christ’s resurrection, which is the main task of every apostle and the entire Church (Acts 1:8). This risen Christ sends Paul on his mission (Acts 9:15).

By adding “all the brethren which are with me” (1:2), Paul indicates that he does act alone. Being accused that he acts not in agreement with the Twelve, Paul from the very beginning makes it clear that he is not alone in his missionary efforts.

Verse 4 includes a kerygmatic statement very dear to Paul (see Rom 4:25; Eph 5:2.25; 1 Tim 2:6; Titus 2:14). Notice the difference between this statement and John 3:16. Here, Christ gave himself up for our sins. In John 3:16, it is the Father who gives His only for our salvation. Paul stresses Christ’s willingness; John stresses Father’s willingness. Yet, behind both willingness is God’s love for us (entire humanity).

What is the fruit of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice? The history of humanity and personal history can be easily divided into two periods:

  1. in which the evil forces, including sin, rule our lives;
  2. In which God takes full control and grace sets us free from the power of sin.

Thus, “this present evil world” refers to a world where sin rules and true believers experience persecution. It is a world in which human life is under the power of sin. Christ’s redeeming death, to “deliver us from this present evil world” was God’s will. Notice that God is called “our Father”. That is also the fruit of Christ’s redeeming death. In Christ, we have become children of God by adoption and Jesus Christ has become our ‘elder’ brother. Thus, like Jesus Christ, we can call the Creator of the universe, the Almighty God, “our Father” (see Matt 6:9). The final phrase “to whom” can refer either to “God, our Father” praising Him for His will or most likely to Jesus Christ praising Him for willingly giving up His life for our sins. In this case, it is a clear indication of Christ’s divinity. Paul as a faithful Jew could only give “glory for ever and ever” to God.

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