“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:7)
Before we move on from the introduction in our study of Romans let’s take a moment to reflect on those whom Paul targeted in his mission and who were the recipients of his message.
They belonged to Jesus Christ. You will note in verse 7 that they were loved by God. That’s why God called them to be saints. When they turned to God and accepted the gospel by faith they began a life of obedience. Their lives were so changed by their conversion that their faith was “being reported all over the world.”
This no doubt was a tremendous encouragement to Paul. He longed to see them face to face. He wanted to share with them what God had given him to help them grow and become stronger in their faith. He also wanted to be encouraged by their faith. This mutual encouragement was what to Paul would be the natural outcome of getting together. That is why he for a long time had longed to finally get together. But he had too many things that kept him preoccupied so he wasn’t free to go to Rome. Finally it looked like he might soon be free to do so.
As preparation for such a meeting and possibly as an effort to minister to them, if for some reason a visit would again be delayed, he wrote them this epistle. He wanted them to grasp something of his passion, his mission and his understanding of the gospel. He wanted to connect with them and firm up the bond they had in Christ. He wanted to partner with them in the grand task of reaching the lost world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Teamwork is essential to getting that task done.
Do you see yourself as part of a team, working together to further God’s kingdom? Identify some of the players you are closest to.