…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
The Roman church wasn’t perfect. They had never had an official apostle show up at their church. They had the whole book of Romans written to them as instruction in the gospel. They also were made up of a bunch of Jewish people and Gentiles that didn’t know all of the history of Israel. But they were believers in Jesus.
Paul doesn’t meet them head-on with all of their mistakes. His greeting is as gracious as the Lord who is inspiring him to write. Right off the bat he addresses them as loved by God and called to be saints. He has nothing but honor for them.
He has heard about this church in Rome and he has spent a lot of time praying for them and preparing to visit them. At the same time, there are a bunch of them that he hasn’t met and hasn’t heard of. All the same, he knows that God sends them His grace and that God is calling them. God is calling them to the same calling that God called Paul: salvation for ourselves and a shared message of that salvation for others.
Whatever we do, people are watching. Depending on our impact, they are probably going to tell somebody, good or bad. One day I was casually reading my Bible at a taco joint, and as I walked back to work a lady pulled up in her car and shouted, “Sir, I’m going to go home and read my Bible right now. If you can do that at Taco Bell, I can certainly read my Bible more at home!”
The people of Rome were living and figuring out the Christian life the best way they knew how. Somehow, thanks to their devotion and the grace of God, word got out about their faith. Just like our ears tingle when we hear about the growing church in China, the world was hearing more and more about the church growing in Rome.
People are watching the church to see how she deals with all kinds of day to day things. We are loved by God and called to be saints. Let’s have such a faith that it is proclaimed throughout the world.