5 things we can learn from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans

Romans

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans stands as a monumental text in Christian theology. In the letter, he discusses big questions about sin, salvation, and how we can live better lives.

His words reach across time, speaking to anyone who’s ever wondered about their place in the world and how to make it a bit better.

This letter shows us that no matter who we are, we’re all in this together, searching for truth and a way forward.

In this article, we’ll dive into 5 powerful lessons from Romans that can help us live with more faith, kindness, and understanding in our everyday lives.

Overview of Paul’s letter to Romans

St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, a cornerstone of Christian theology, delves deep into the concepts of faith, grace, and salvation.

It initiates the Pauline corpus within the New Testament, setting a foundational framework for understanding Christianity’s core beliefs.

Romans begins by affirming Jesus Christ as the Son of God and swiftly moves to discuss the power of the Gospel for everyone who believes.

This letter is organized into discussions on humanity’s relationship with God, justification through faith rather than law, and the moral duties of Christian life.

It emphasizes grace, mentioned more frequently here than in any other New Testament book, as the basis of salvation. It also introduces “the obedience of faith” as the ideal response to God’s mercy.

Through its chapters, Romans provides a comprehensive guide to living a life rooted in faith. Therefore, it showcases Paul’s theological depth and profound understanding of Christianity’s essence.

Composition of the letter

Now, let’s journey back to the first century to understand how this transformative letter came to be.

Before he was Paul, the champion of Christianity, he was Saul of Tarsus, a fervent persecutor of Christians.

But everything changed on the road to Damascus when Jesus himself intervened, leading Saul to become Paul, a devoted follower of Christ.

Paul’s background as a Pharisee and Roman citizen, combined with his conversion experience, uniquely positioned him to spread Christianity far and wide.

Through his missionary journeys, Paul tirelessly preached the Good News, reaching out not just to Jews but to Gentiles, making it clear that Jesus’s salvation was available to all.

The Letter to the Romans, part of the Pauline corpus in the New Testament, is Paul’s masterful explanation of Christian faith.

It’s here that Paul lays out the essence of Christianity: we are justified by faith, not by adhering to the law.

This letter is not just a theological treatise but a heartfelt message from Paul, urging us to embrace faith and live following God’s will.

6 teachings from Paul’s letter

1) Justification comes through faith alone

Have you ever thought you could earn a better standing with someone just by ticking off a checklist?

St. Paul flips this idea on its head when it comes to our relationship with God. He calls for the obedience of faith in the beginning and end of his Letter to the Romans (1:5, 16:25-27).

In Romans, he makes a groundbreaking statement:

It’s not about following a set of rules to the letter that makes us right with God. It’s faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

This means that no matter how hard we try to be perfect or follow every rule, it’s our faith—our trust in Jesus’s sacrifice and love—that brings us into a right relationship with God.

It’s kind of like having a friend who loves you no matter what, not because you always do the right thing, but just because you believe in the strength of your friendship.

2) Sin is universal and we all need salvation

Paul doesn’t shy away from stating a universal truth:

Every one of us has sinned and falls short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).

This message is not meant to condemn but to affirm that everyone needs grace. It underscores the fact that our mistakes and failings are part of the human condition and that salvation is not something we can achieve on our own.

Instead, it is a gift made available to us through faith in Christ.

By recognizing our shared need for salvation, Paul invites us into a journey of transformation and redemption that is accessible to every person, irrespective of past errors.

This universal call to faith and salvation is at the heart of Paul’s message, offering hope and a way forward for all.

3) Grace over law

In Romans, St. Paul introduces a revolutionary concept: grace is more powerful than the law.

He tells us, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). And you know what?

This idea is as relevant today as it has been centuries ago.

The truth is that God’s love and forgiveness aren’t things we earn by strictly following religious rules. They are gifts given to us freely by God’s grace.

Imagine a system where your worth isn’t measured by your ability to adhere to a set of standards, but by your acceptance of a gift freely given.

This shifts the focus from trying to prove ourselves to simply living in the freedom and joy of God’s unconditional love.

That’s why I believe that this idea turns traditional notions of righteousness on their head, proposing that faith and acceptance of God’s grace are sufficient for salvation.

It underscores a fundamental truth about Christian doctrine: God’s love and mercy are unconditional, and human efforts can never “earn” salvation.

4) The holy spirit transforms us

The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is like the ultimate renovation project, but instead of fixing up an old house, it’s about transforming our hearts and minds.

Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

However, this isn’t just about making small changes. It’s a total overhaul from the inside out, led by the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the early Christians believed this transformation was so profound that they were known as “the people of the way,” because their lives were radically changed.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to live lives that reflect God’s love and righteousness. But it’s not through our own strength, but through the divine power working within us.

4) Jews and gentiles are united in Christ

Paul addresses a complex theological issue in Romans concerning the roles and relationships of Israel and the Gentiles within God’s redemptive plan.

His exploration seeks to reconcile God’s faithfulness to His covenant with Israel with the radical inclusion of the Gentiles through faith in Christ.

  • Paul affirms God’s unchanging promises to Israel, emphasizing that they are beloved for the sake of their ancestors.
  • He also celebrates the inclusion of the Gentiles, who, though once outsiders, have now received mercy through faith.

Therefore, one of the main themes of his letter to the Romans is unity in diversity.

What does it mean?

Well, this theme underscores the expansive reach of God’s grace and the unity it creates among diverse peoples.

For this, Paul uses the metaphor of an olive tree to illustrate how Gentiles are grafted in among the Jews.

Paul’s discussion serves as a reminder that God’s salvation plan is inclusive, bringing together people from every nation under the lordship of Christ.

In this unity, differences do not create division but rather enrich the collective understanding and experience of God’s grace.

The Letter to the Romans thus invites believers to embrace a vision of the church that reflects God’s kingdom: diverse yet unified in Christ.

5) The marks of the true Christian community

What really defines a Christian community? Is it just a group of people who attend the same church, follow the same rituals, or read the same Bible?

Paul’s letter to the Romans, particularly in chapters 12-16, offers a deeper, more profound answer.

It’s not about the external markers we often rely on to define our faith community. Instead, Paul points us towards the essence of being part of the body of Christ:

Love, harmony, and service to others.

Paul’s vision for a true Christian community is raw and honest. It’s a call to action that transcends mere attendance or affiliation.

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:9-10).

This isn’t just a lofty ideal — it’s a practical guide for daily living.

Moreover, Paul emphasizes the importance of living in harmony with one another, of being welcoming to all, and of not being overcome by evil, but overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:16, 18).

Let’s face it, in a world rife with division and strife, this message is more relevant than ever. It challenges us to look beyond our differences, to seek peace, and to be agents of reconciliation.

Paul’s teachings for practical Christian living

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Romans 12:2

In the latter chapters of Romans, Paul shifts focus to how believers should live out the theological truths he has laid out.

His teachings go beyond the intellectual understanding of Christian doctrine to address how we can embody these beliefs in our actions, relationships, and decisions.

Here’s how Paul breaks it down for us:

  • Live in harmony: Paul urges us to live in harmony with one another and to be understanding and accepting of differences within the Christian community. It’s about creating a space where everyone feels valued and respected.
  • Serve with love: Service isn’t just an act; it’s a way of life. Paul emphasizes serving others with a genuine heart, seeing it as an expression of our love for Christ. This isn’t about seeking recognition but about humbly serving as Jesus did.
  • Overcome evil with good: In a world were people consider retaliation a strength, Paul calls us to a higher standard. Overcoming evil with good is about responding to negativity, hatred, and injustice with kindness, patience, and love.

Takeaway: Next steps in your spiritual journey

Hopefully, now you realize that understanding St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans opens the door to deeper theological reflection and personal spiritual growth.

Yes, Paul’s letter to the Romans is a call to action for Christians.

It teaches us to live our faith in every moment.

This isn’t just about holding certain beliefs. It’s about how those beliefs shape the way we interact with the world and with each other.

Let this letter inspire us to bring positive change, showing love and grace in all we do. Let’s make our faith alive and active, touching hearts and changing lives.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Nomadrs to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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