To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people . . . .
The New Testament includes a lot of letters from spiritual leaders to churches and to church leaders. We might ask, “Of all the ways to write about faith and how it works, why use a bunch of letters?”
It would be a bit bold to suggest I have the answer, but it strikes me that in the letters of the New Testament, Paul and others are writing to people. In fact, we could say that God, speaking through Paul and others, is giving his Word to people in the form of a letter because letters are written for readers. Letters are personal. They are not just about information but about connection and relationship. Letters need readers.
So after identifying who he is in relation to Jesus, Paul clarifies that he is writing to people. People are the point. Theology is for people because God is for people. Christianity is not about a religious system that puzzlers are trying to piece together. It’s about us—real, everyday people—who belong to Jesus. God loves us and calls us to be holy people (saints). God wants to extend his grace and peace to us.
I think God is making a point by using letters in the New Testament. God wants me to know that he doesn’t just want me to hear truth; he wants me to hear him because I matter to him personally.
Heavenly Father, for the gift of your letters to us, we thank you. For your desire that we hear you, affirming our value to you, we give thanks in Christ. Amen.
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