St Paul’s Letter to the Romans

Romans5_3-4Each week during my hour at the Adoration Chapel, I spend a few minutes reading further in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Small portions of the Letter to the Romans are often used as one of the readings during the daily or Sunday Mass. This is the longest of Paul’s letters which, I have been told, lay out his theology. Here is what I have learned so far.

  • I am called to belong to Jesus.
  • I am called to be holy (living according to highly moral spiritual system, set apart for a religious purpose).
  • The fruit of Paul’s work continues.
  • Paul has an obligation to the preach the message – an obligation or mission given by God.
  • Even though Jesus death was considered the height of shame, for it was a criminal’s death – Paul joyously proclaims it.
  • Those who suppress the truth about God will face His wrath.
  • God has made His work and His presence evident to us.
  • Verses 22 and 23 – men worship themselves and the image of themselves rather than God. They think themselves wise, but they are fools. Therefore God allows them to be corrupted and degraded by their own actions – homosexuality and other perversions are the penalties for failing to see and honor their Creator – they are filled with every form of wickedness.
  • Chapter 2 – Do not judge for you will be judged by the standard you use
  • God’s kindness should lead me to repentance.
  • Circumcision is in the heart and not in the flesh
  • We have to interiorize the Gospel and live it. It is not enough to talk about it.
  • Being a Jew is special – God entrusted the Jew with knowledge of Him, His Name and His Law.
  • Chapter 4 – Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
  • Think of a balance sheet – sins on the debit side, what is on the other? Paul says faith is a credit against the debt. (WOW!)
  • Abraham received the credit before he was circumcised. He received circumcision as a sign of the credit. Recognition that he received the credit and a reminder of the credit given to him.paul
  • Fulfillment of the promises of God come through faith in Him, for faith makes us righteous in God’s eyes.
  • Promises are God’s gift to us because we believe in Him – in His ability to fulfill the promises and the truthfulness of His Word.
  • Abraham is our father in faith for he believed that God could bring life and descendents to him even though he was old.
  • Chapter 5 – Because we believe in Jesus and the power of His Resurrection, we have hope. Even though we may suffer bodily ills, persecution and death, we know that God’s love is always there for us.
  • Affliction — Endurance — Proven Character — Hope
  • Verse 9 “Now that we have been justified by His Blood, it is all the  more certain that we shall be save by Him from God’s wrath.”
  • Chapter 6 – Verse 13 “offer yourself to God as men who have come back from the dead to life; and your bodies to God as weapons of justice.”
  • Chapter 7 verse 15 “What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.”
  • Verse 22 “I take delight in the law of God in my inner self.”
  • Chapter 8 Verse 14 “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
  • We received a spirit of adoption when we were baptized, so now we call God “Father”.
  • “The sufferings of the present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”
  • All creation awaits the final day, for it too must be set free.
  • Verse 28 “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.”
  • Verse 31 If God is for us, who can be against us.” Even if the whole world tries to destroy us, God is our Savior. In the end though the world would seem to be victorious, it is the children of God who will earn the final victory.
  • “What will separate us from the love of Christ”. Nothing can.
  • letter to the romansChapter 9 Paul weeps for his own people, the Jews. God chose them as His own. Throughout history God has cherished the Jews, freeing them from slavery in Egypt, giving them the Law, teaching them to worship, sending prophets to warn and chastise them, and according to His promise Jesus, the Messiah, is born of them.
  • Children of the promise, not children of the flesh, are considered descendants of Abraham.
  • God has mercy on whom He wills. As a potter chooses what to make from the clay, so God, because He is Creator, can make this choice.
  • God has mercy on those who have faith in Him.
  • Chapter 10 The Jews have zeal for God but are unaware that righteousness comes from God alone. They cannot make themselves righteous by following the Law. “Christ is the end of the law for justification of those who have faith.”
  • Believing in the heart in Jesus and confessing with the mouth that He is Lord brings salvation.
  • Faith comes through what is heard .
  • Chapter 11 The Remnant of Israel – Paul says that just as in the past, there was a remant of believers who were true to God, so there still is – God has not rejected the Jews.
  • “Through their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles”.  The Jews have paved the way for the Gentiles. Because they have rejected Jesus, the Gospel is preached to the Gentiles.letter to the romans2
  • Remember though that the olive tree of faith is of the Jews and Gentiles have been grated on like a branch which is added. The roots feed the branches (Jesus is the root) and we, as branches, provide some nourishment for the roots. It is God’s desire that we all be one. He can graft the branches of the Jews back onto the tree.
  • God’s call of the Jews, His Covenant with the chosen people, is irrevocable.
  • Chapter 12 verse 2b: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God.”
  • Verse 5: “though many, we are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.”
  • Verse 9: “Let love be sincere, hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.”
  • Verse 21: Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.”
  • Chapter 13 Obedience to Authority – this seems so at odds with American values. We believe as citizens that it is our right and duty to fight against unjust laws and rulers. Paul says vs 7: “respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.” If a man is evil, even if he is in a position of authority, how can we respect him?
  • Vs 8 “owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.” This is a good policy not just with money, but also owe no one favors.
  • Vs 10: “love does no evil the neighbor”
  • Vs 11: My favorite – “it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Each day brings me closer to that time when I will see the Lord.
  • Chapter 14 We are not to pass judgment on one another – this is a big problem for me.
  • Vs 7 “none of us lives for oneself and on one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord.”
  • Vs 12 Each of us shall give an account of himself to God.
  • Chapter 15 Vs 5  Paul prays for harmony among Christians so we might glorify God.
  • Vs 13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Paul speaks of visiting Rome on his way to Spain, but first he will go to Jerusalem. There he will be arrested, eventually sent to Rome where he will be martyred.