We’re continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome. In the introduction of this epistle, he talks about the goal of his writing.
And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
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.
The first thing Paul does is to make it clear who’s doing the calling. He literally says that they are called by Jesus Christ. That brings me to an important point.
Most people read Scripture without ever thinking about the words being used, or the order we find them. For instance, many believers think that the names “Jesus Christ” and “Christ Jesus” are synonymous and interchangeable.
While I agree that they both refer to the same person, it’s also important to understand their differences. They speak a lot about what the writer is trying to get across to us.
The name, Jesus, speaks of His earthly body, while Christ refers to His eternal divinity. So when they’re put together an important union is formed. It’s all about the Lord’s high priestly office.
Usually, the name Jesus Christ is used when the writer is emphasizing something that’s directed from man to God. The name, Christ Jesus, directs the emphasis from God to man.
In this passage we are called by Jesus Christ. That tells me that the emphasis is man to God. Jesus is calling us so that we can approach God through His work in us.
That’s what this letter to the Roman church is all about. Paul is taking them on a journey from the outskirts of God’s grace to the inner circle of maturity in Christ.
The next two things Paul talks about are applicable to all people. That’s the fact that they’re all loved by God and they’re all called to be holy (saints).
This is important because God’s calling is based upon His love for us. God loves everyone and desires all to come into His salvation. Unfortunately, not everyone accepts His invitation. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Lord loves them anyway.
Everyone is also called to be holy – set apart to God. I explained that term a couple of posts back. The Lord wants everyone to be a part of His household. That’s because we’ll never truly be satisfied until we discover our true purpose for living in Christ.
That brings us to the final two parts of what the book of Romans is majoring on. Paul wants to see them operating in the grace and peace of God.
These are two very important aspects of our walk with God. Grace is the vertical portion. We look to God by faith in His Word. The Lord then responds to our faith by pouring out His grace upon us.
Peace is the horizontal aspect of our spiritual life. There are many believers who don’t understand this concept. Peace is that open relationship between God’s people.
It also deals with all the blessings God has provided for me. This includes, but isn’t limited to, healing, provision, encouragement, and protection. What we don’t understand about this is that all of these blessings come through other people – the horizontal.
If I’m in need of resources and pray to God to supply my need, these things don’t just fall out of the sky. They come from other people.
So if I build walls between myself and other Christians, I’m cutting myself off from potential supplies. I’m also destroying my chance of passing on God’s blessings through my life to others.
We’re all called to come near to God. That’s where we receive the grace and peace needed to fulfill our earthly ministries.
Question: How have you seen God’s grace and peace at work in your life?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi