It is not surprising that Paul longed to visit Rome and connect with the saints there. There were many versions and visions of the Way that led to salvation and at-one-ment with God. Paul was eager that the believers in Rome heard from his very own lips the good news that he had experienced personally; the redemptive power of salvation visited upon humanity through Jesus the Christ, the provision of grace for all people. Paul was determined that the congregation in Rome was thoroughly grounded in the knowledge of God’s compassion and fully established in the peace and joy of God’s love.
Paul was not naïve: he had grown up in a very sophisticated, urban environment amongst the privileged. He was well aware of how things worked in political and social life, and the things that people did either in ignorance or open defiance of God’s natural and revealed law. Everywhere he looked in the world, he saw corruption and unworthiness. In response, although surrounded by pagan Gentiles and Hellenized Jews, and given an elite education in rhetoric and philosophy, he attached himself to a fastidious arm of the Jewish faith and studied with the most prominent of rabbis. He had pursued his faith zealously, and stood blameless, as people reckon such things, devoted to keeping the Law perfectly as his acceptable offering to God.
Paul - God - Champions - Encounter - Damascus
Paul had considered himself to be one of God’s champions until an encounter on the Damascus road showed him that he was involved in waging war against the Holy Name he thought he was serving. So Paul also knew about the perils of trusting in even one’s best intentions and most scrupulous actions. But he also learned something else in that life-changing encounter: God’s love towards humans is constant, even when they have set themselves against his...
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