Letters of Paul

Sunday 3 May

Romans 1:1-17  Good News Translation (GNT)

From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus and an apostle chosen and called by
God to preach his Good News.

The Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets, as
written in the Holy Scriptures. It is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: as
to his humanity, he was born a descendant of David; as to his divine holiness,
he was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death.
Through him God gave me the privilege of being an apostle for the sake of
Christ, in order to lead people of all nations to believe and obey. This also includes
you who are in Rome, whom God has called to belong to Jesus Christ.

And so I write to all of you in Rome whom God loves and has called to be his
own people: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.


8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the whole world
is hearing about your faith. God is my witness that what I say is true—the God whom
I serve with all my heart by preaching the Good News about his Son. God knows that I remember you 10 every time I pray. I ask that God in his good will may at last make
it possible for me to visit you now. 11 For I want very much to see you, in order to
share a spiritual blessing with you to make you strong. 12 What I mean is that both
you and I will be helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours.

13 You must remember, my friends, that many times I have planned to visit you,
but something has always kept me from doing so. I want to win converts among
you also, as I have among other Gentiles. 14 For I have an obligation to all
peoples, to the civilized and to the savage, to the educated and to the ignorant.
15 So then, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who live in Rome.

16 I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God's power to save all who believe,
first the Jews and also the Gentiles. 17 For the gospel reveals how God puts people
right with himself: it is through faith from beginning to end. As the scripture says, “The
person who is put right with God through faith shall live.”

 

        Commentary

Unlike many of Paul’s letters, Romans is written to people who do not know
him. So he needs to introduce himself well and in terms with which the people
to whom he writes will

identify.  And so, Paul introduces himself as a slave to Jesus Christ. He is carefu
l to set out his credentials in a way that will invoke the support he requires to
continue his missionary journey from a community that has yet to encounter him.
So he offers what could be called a synopsis of his personal manifesto: his vision,
his goals, his motivation.  But this manifesto is not a creed or dogma to be stored
away to gather dust or to be set aside because it is too difficult to implement, it is
a living message with power to change lives. It is not merely for one set of chosen
people but for Jews and Greeks.  It is about openness and justice and inclusion
and God’s willingness to continually be involved in the journey of God’s people and,
in this case, in order to embrace others along the way, God’s ability to enter and to
change lives.

As we constantly seek to engage more people with church today, as we look for
ways of populating our empty pews, how much of that is fuelled by the desire to
encounter others of like mind and how much of it is borne out of our compulsion
as people who have experienced God’s grace to extend that opportunity to others?

We might read Romans 1:16-17 and wonder what Paul would think of our faith: 

“I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God's power to save all who believe,
first the Jews and also the Gentiles. For the gospel reveals how God puts people
right with himself: it is through faith from beginning to end. As the scripture says,
“The person who is put right with God through faith shall live.”

 


 

 

 

 


Printer Printable Version