“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7).
The Apostle Paul starts most of his letters by greeting the recipients in this way. It would be easy to quickly read this as you would any salutation by thinking that the best is coming next. However, Paul does not waste words, and each one is intentional and powerful—after a moment or two of reflection.
Consider “To all in Rome who are loved by God….” Reading this, I wonder: Did the people of Rome ever dare to dream that God would love them? This culture was steeped in worshipping gods who were hateful and vengeful. What a beautiful breath of fresh air this simple statement must have been to the original readers. Today, how many of us dare to dream that God loves us too?
"Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ"
It’s so true: You can’t give what you don’t have.
I’ve learned and relearned this truth over the years. For instance, I recently taught at church, and each time I’ve done this I’ve felt unqualified, unskilled, and woke up wondering, what in the world do I have to say? At those times, I was especially
concerned about the people who are searching, who need Jesus, and who need hope for the next week. I was humbled as I felt like I had nothing to give.
However, early Sunday morning, the Lord reminded me of this exact verse from Romans, “…we’ve received grace…to call…to obedience.” You can’t give what you don’t have. It is God’s grace working in my life and through my experiences that enables me to open
the Word of God uniquely in those moments. He’s been present in my life from the beginning, has given me grace, and now is using my story to support and encourage his church.