- Take a moment to pray. Praise God for His Word and ask Him to teach you its truth, just as the psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:12-16, “Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth. I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word.”
- Read Romans 1:5-6
- Citizens of Rome were not people most Jews wanted to convert in the first century. They were people they wanted to defeat. Rome was an occupying force in Israel, making them an enemy to many. Most first century Jews had little compassion for their oppressors. Yet Paul desires to minister among this group of people. Why do you think that is? What happened in Paul’s life that would have him so interested in ministering to the Roman Gentiles? How does Romans 1:5 help you answer this question?
- The clear implication of Romans 1:5 is that Paul had been given both grace and a calling. Paul was forgiven and set free from his sin, but also commissioned to take this same message to the Gentile people, including the people of Rome. Like Paul, all Christians, have been given both grace and a calling. In your own words how would you describe your “grace and calling” given by God to you in this life?
- The power of the Gospel will ultimately lead to a changed life (“obedience of faith” in verse 6). While Christians are not saved by their good works (something that Paul will explain in great detail in Romans 1-3), the Christian who is saved by grace is also saved and equipped with the expectation and hope of an obedient (to God) life. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has called you to follow Him in obedience. What are some areas of your life today where you struggle to obey God in faith?
- People long to belong. We are wired to be together. Paul writes to the Roman followers of Christ, and encourages them that they have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. In Christ, there are no longer divisions between Jews (like Paul) and Gentiles (like the Romans). There are just people saved by grace and united by Jesus Christ. What are some of the ways you are tempted to divide the church today (rich/poor, black/white, etc.)? How does this encouragement by Paul that we can all “belong in Christ” encourage you?
- Scan back over Paul’s introduction to his letter to the Romans in 1:1-7. What most stands out to you about how he describes himself? About how he describes the Gospel?
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