Scripture Readings: Romans 1:1-7
The statement made by Paul, “You are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ”, speaks to an audience of Christians in Rome. The time when the letter to the Romans was written was possibly 20 – 25 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Paul was in Greece, he was ready to journey to Spain, and he hoped to travel through Rome and meet with this church on his journey. This church, under the direction of Peter the apostle was prospering. Some scholars believe this letter to be more of a summary of the doctrine of Christianity written by Paul, sharing this summary with the Roman church. Regardless of when, how , and where this letter was written the same doctrine of Christianity is true today. If Paul was writing to the Americans , instead of the Romans, the principles are the same.
After spending the last 28 days studying the Roman empire, we will spend the next week studying the book of Romans. This book of the bible is complex to read and I will do my best to share the principles God leads me to share. Allow first to set the setting: the roman emperor is Nero. He was 16 years old when he became emperor, and most likely was a teenager when Paul wrote this letter. Nero had a notorious history of persecuting Christians and possibly had Peter and Paul murdered, but at the time of this writing things were relatively peaceful. Nero was learning the ropes of how to rule an empire by his mother, Agrippina, whom one day Nero would have murdered.
Today, let’s focus on Paul’s introduction. Paul was chosen by God. He was sent out to preach his Good News. What was the Good News? The Good News was about his son, Jesus Christ our Lord. The Good News is for Gentiles everywhere. It is a privilege to share this Good News. God has authorized us to share this Good News. We are called to believe and obey, and bring glory to his name. Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, to the Americans, the Bolivians, the South Africans, you fill in the blank with your nationality; Paul wrote this letter to all of us who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people.