The Letters of Paul
This is part of ‘the epistles*’. The word epistles* means ‘letters’.
A leader of the new church*, named Paul, wrote these letters. These letters tell the readers how to live as God’s people. The letters remind them that God will keep his promises.
THE NEW TESTAMENT | THE LETTERS OF PAUL
PEOPLE TO KNOW
PLACES TO GO
God was angry about sin* and all people sin*.
God sent Jesus to rescue us.
People could be right with God by faith* in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit* gives us life and helps us live.
Believers had a future hope*.
Paul wrote many letters. He wanted to teach the churches more about Jesus. He also wanted to help them know how to live as Christians. The book of Romans is one of those letters.
Paul wrote more than a dozen books in the New Testament* section of the Bible. He wrote more books than anyone else. Paul wrote this letter to the people in the church* at Rome. He started the letter with a greeting. He ended the letter by saying thank you to several people in the church*.
But Paul used most of the letter to talk about one thing. He wrote about the good news about Jesus. Most of the book is about the gospel*. Paul argued about the gospel*. He gave examples. He asked the Romans to think hard about Jesus. He did not want the Roman Christians to be wrong about the gospel*.
One of the most important words in the book is ‘grace*’. Grace* means that God blesses us when we do not deserve a blessing. He is kind to us when we deserve his anger. He brings us close when we deserve to be put far away.
Paul talked about a problem first. All people were sinners*. Every person did things that God was not pleased with. We broke God’s laws. We did not listen to what he said. Some people even worshiped* idols*. We fell short of what God wanted for us. God was angry with us because of our sins*. Our sins* must be punished. And the punishment for our sins* was death.
And there was nothing that we could do to fix the problem. This was true for all people – those who were Jews* and those who were not. God gave Moses the law for the Jews. But that law could not make them right before God.
The good news is that God made a way to fix this problem. God sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, to rescue us. Jesus did all of the things that Moses’ law required. He did not sin*. He pleased God in every way. He did not deserve to be punished by God.
But Jesus took our place. God punished Jesus instead. Jesus took our sin*, our guilt* and our shame. He was punished so that we could go free. He took care of God’s anger so that we could be at peace* with God. This is the gospel*. This is the good news that Paul wanted the Romans to understand.
Paul said that this good news was for everyone who would believe. A person who wanted to be right with God must believe. They must believe that Jesus was the one that God sent to rescue sinners. They must believe that he died on a cross* and came back to be alive again. Then they must trust* Jesus to rescue them. They must believe that Jesus is their only hope*.
Paul said that God blesses us in many ways when we believe. God forgives us. Paul said that we are now right with God. Then God makes us a part of his family. He adopts us as his own dear children. And God makes us holy. He changes our hearts. He changes the way we think and act. He does this for us by giving us the Holy Spirit*. And God will some day make us perfect. Our bodies will be perfect. Our soul* will be perfect. He will do this for us at the day when he raises all people to live again.
Paul answered two big questions in the last part of his book. The first question is about the Jews*. God promised Abraham a people and a land. He promised David a kingdom* that would last for ever. Would God keep those promises? Paul said that God still intended to keep his promises to Israel*. Some day in the future, they would turn to Christ. They would know him and believe in him. Now, God was giving the blessings* that belonged to the Jews* to people who were not Jews*.
Paul answered another question too. How does the gospel* change the way we are to live now? How should we live every day now that we believe the good news? Paul answered that question in the last four chapters of Romans. He said that God had shown us mercy*. He sent Jesus to rescue us. So, we should show mercy* to people too.