The “I Am’s” of Paul

A Look at Paul’s “Spiritual Autobiography” in Romans

Throughout the book of Romans, we can catch a glimpse of the inner workings of this great apostle’s heart and soul. Really, as we study these nine “I Am’s,” we are reading not only Paul’s auto bography, but we can see Paul’s growth and maturing as a believer.

1. I am unspiritual, Romans 7:14. The word really is “worldy” or “fleshly.” Being “worldly minded” or “carnal,” Paul sees himself as sold under sin and under sin’s dominion. He realizes that the Law is spiritual, and deals with his spirit rather than his actions. His spirit being worldly cannot fulfill a spiritual Law. And so, he sees himself as sold out to sin. Paul finds himself enslaved by sin, helpless in the clutches of his mortal enemy and an enemy to the righteous will of God. This is our natural state. As the Psalmist observed, there is no truth deep down inside a man and no wisdom in his heart (Psalm 51:6).

2. I am wretched, Romans 7:24. When we read God’s Word or when we are getting serious in our walk with Him, we discover our true state in His sight. And it’s enough to make even the best among us wince with the reality that we, like Paul, are wretched creatures indeed. It is only when come face to face with our own faults, failings and frailties that we may cry out, as Job did, “If only there was someone who could make peace between us!”

3. I am not ashamed, Romans 1:16. Only someone who has experienced the saving power of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ can make such a boast. It is the cry of confidence and certain victory (1 Corinthians 15:57). Add to this the transforming power of the Spirit, Romans 12:2, and you have sure and wavering faith in the Word of God. It’s amazing how empowering the knowledge of your deliverance from the power of Satan can be! When you are delivered from the power of sin, you are free to love the Word of God wholly and freely because you not longer love the sin.

4. I am a debtor, Romans 1:14. Now that he has received salvation through the grace of God, Paul becomes a debtor to the unsaved, whether they be Greeks or barbarians, wise or foolish. Every single believer is a steward of the manifold grace of God, 1 Peter 4:10. The question we should all ask ourselves is this: Have I paid my debt to those who don’t know Christ by giving them the Gospel? Or, are we more like unfaithful stewards who hoard and selfishly use our Master’s goods?

5. I am ready, Romans 1:15. That the apostle was prepared, ready and in fact eager to pay this debt, even to the Romans at any cost is evident in his writings. He loved the Word of God; he loved God; and he knew the necessity of salvation. Paul’s burning desire was to preach! This should be the constant attitude of our hearts. “Ready!” “Eager!” Like soldiers, we should always be at the ready; prepared for Him who has chosen us. The way to get ready for the great things of God is to be always ready for the little things.

6. I am convinced, Romans 8:38. This is a tremendous verse, worthy of the attention of two sermons. Paul unveils to his readers his deep, unalterable conviction concerning the unchanging love of God which is in Christ. This is an absolute necessity if you want to enjoy the joy and comfort that are yours as a laborer for God. If you are always ready to please God, always obedient to His will, you will be all the more persuaded of the lasting, inseparable and incomparable love of God.

7. I am the Apostle, Romans 11:13. Ask Paul what he was, and he would exclaim: “I am the Apostle!” He received his commission for the Lord Himself and he knew it. Here was a man who knew what his job was and never wavered from it. We are all apostles, did you know that? What are you? What definite work has the Lord committed to your care? Far too many of us have carelessly frittered away our lives because we don’t know what we are supposed to be doing. It behooves us all to pause and ask Him, “What would you have me to do, Lord?” (Acts 9:6).

8. I am sure, Romans 15:29. There is nothing like the blessing of the assurance that when we go in God’s Name, we go in God’s unlimited power, and in the fullness of the Gospel. Even though Paul went to Rome bound in chains, he nonetheless went in the fullness of the blessing of God. There is NO power on earth that can hinder our usefulness as Christians except sin. This blessed assurance should foremost on the minds of every preacher and layman alike.

9. I am glad, Romans 16:19. This gladness sprang up from deep in the heart of Paul because of the obedience of others to God. This was how close he was to the lives of his spiritual children. The closeness of fellowship with Jesus Christ may be tested by the depth and intensity of our sadness, or gladness, at the disobedience, or obedience of others to the call of God.

Do you feel pain when Christ is maligned where you can hear it?

Jesus said, “I am glad for your sakes,” John 11:15. Are you sad or glad for HIS sake?

3 Responses to “The “I Am’s” of Paul”

  1. 1 Yenli April 30, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Hello Mike

    I really enjoy this sermon. You were able to link these Bible teachings together with an integrated approach. Certainly!! I learned a lot from these 9 parts of your sermon. Thank you!! Your sermons always change us at church to learn, ponder and apply God’s teachings in our lives. Many thanks for your devoted good effort on all your sermons. : ) With appreciation, Yenli

  2. 2 Yenli April 30, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    P.S. Sorry!! Mike!! I just found out a typing error of my. It should be “Your sermons always CHALLENGE (not change) us at church to learn, ponder and apply God’s teachings in our lives” Thank again and cheers!! : ) Y.

  3. 3 Dr. Mike April 30, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Yenli said, “You were able to link these Bible teachings together with an integrated approach.”

    Dr. Mike says, “Is that what you call it??” My profs always called it “stream of consciousness” preaching!

    Thank you Yenli for comments and your faithfulness at Church! Have a great week.

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