St Paul’s letter to the Romans ought to be considered as one of the finest pieces of writing in all literature. It may not be a true classic in the sense of a great novel or a great piece of a strictly historical sense, but it is a masterful exposition of Paul’s understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When one looks at it closely it is evident that a lot of thought and reflection have been done in order to produce this masterpiece.

Paul tells the recipients of his letter, the Church in Rome, that his mission in life is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even in the first few lines of his letter, Paul is able to convey a lot of information about the nature of the Gospel. In fact, he explicitly mentions all the major themes of salvation history except our sin. For the next four weeks we will have the pleasure of following Paul’s train of thought as he expounds upon the mystery of salvation so thoroughly and so eloquently.

With this as our introduction, let us pray that the grace of the Holy Spirit will truly open our hearts and minds to the truths that Paul will be covering and that our understanding of what Christ has done for us will grow over the next few weeks. As Paul shares his experience of being changed by the power of the Gospel, let us pray that our lives will become more faithful witnesses to the power that is at work bringing salvation to the whole world.

It is important for us to realise that we have a responsibility to form our minds with the true meaning of the Gospel so that we can better proclaim and explain it to others. Paul is about to share with us his understanding. Let us hope and pray that it will lead us to a deeper relationship with Jesus our Saviour.

It is interesting to note that the phrase ‘obedience of faith’ that occurs here in v.5 recurs in 16:26 as though it is the theme of the letter. All that is between these two occurrences of the one phrase is to enlighten us as to what Paul means when he talks about ‘the obedience of faith’ that is necessary for all Christians.

I hope you all come to love this letter as much as I do!

How well do I understand the faith that I proclaim and live? How much time do I spend trying to understand more fully some of the more complicated aspects of my faith? Do I spend enough time doing this?

Lord, open the eyes, ears and understanding of my heart and mind as I begin to read once again Paul’s letter to the Romans. Help me to come into a deeper understanding of the gospel so that I may grow in holiness more and more.