The book of Romans is one of two of Paul’s longest letters. It has sixteen chapters.It is a letter that was written to the Jews and Gentiles of Rome (who had conflicting opinions on certain practices which led to derision from those who did not subscribe to the practices and insistence on adherence on the side of those who did).
In this letter, Paul explains to the Roman CHRISTIANS that the good news is necessary due to man’s sinful nature (which cannot be helped by man’s actions in any way). He explains that God has himself provided a way through which man’s sinful canker can be cured, a way to be made right – Christ’s sacrifice. This is the good news.
Now man’s means to access this way out of sin is faith. Faith which was accounted to some as righteousness. Faith. Not practices like circumcision, observance of special days and abstinence from some foods…just faith, in the finished work of Christ. Faith. Not other practices that in this present day may be of importance to us by reason of our culture. Just plain simple faith. Whatever we choose to do as Christians, whatever we believe is right, should never be a source of contention between us and other Christians. Instead, we should do whatever we do in faith, and to God’s glory, for God’s honor – in life and in death. Before we allow any issue or practice to become a source of debate between us and our brethren in the faith, let us ask ourselves if that practice will in any way bring honor to God.
This good news, which we can “buy into” by faith, not only rescues us from sin, it transforms our very persons. The good news makes us into new people, if we will let it. Paul also talks on virtues like love for people (not things) and hatred for wrongdoing (not the wrongdoers) patience and hardwork (which are not exactly associated with a disconcerting number of people who identify as Christians in present times). He also talks about blessing one’s persecutors, rejoicing with the happy and weeping with the doleful, harmonious living and humility, (because no matter who we think we are, we really aren’t all that!) forgiveness and compassion (leading to action) towards all, even our enemies. We are to CONQUER EVIL WITH GOOD!
One issue that stands out in Paul’s letter is the attitude of Christian brethren towards one another, especially those considered weak. It’s so common to see messages of self love lately, which is in itself not a bad thing. But when the things we feel we have a right to do (by virtue of our freedom in Christ) will affect another, we must be mindful. We do not live only to please ourselves. We are important to ourselves and to God, but we’re not God’s only creation, and he needs us to conduct ourselves in a way that does not affect the faith of another person, even if it means delaying or entirely denying ourselves of some “pleasure”.
Self love is important, but even more important is love for God which translates into love for our fellow human beings