Paul's letter starts with some basic introductions. Hey! Paul here. What up, Romans? As it turns out, Paul's never been to Rome, but he wants to go. Really, really badly. He's sending this letter ahead of him as a way of introducing himself… and of sharing lots (and we mean lots) of theological goodies.
Paul's big concern is Jesus. He died so we could live the good life with God. All we have to do is believe in him and all our dreams will come true. We're talking magical unicorns and rainbows made of Skittles. Okay, not really. It's more like the death of sin and the promise of eternal life with God. That's pretty good, too, right?
And what do people have to do claim these fabulous prizes? Just put their faith in Jesus. But that's why Paul is so down. It's only been twenty years since Jesus died, and not everyone is faithing it up quite yet. Come on, guys. Get with the program.
Paul is especially worried about the Jewish people. See, Paul's a Jew himself, and he believes that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and the continuation of all Jewish life and thought. But not every single Jew accepts this. Paul spends this entire letter struggling with the idea that non-believing Jews can't possibly be on God's good side. But he also can't quite shake the feeling that since they're God's chosen peeps, the Big Guy is gonna do something for them. Paul sure has his fingers crossed.
There is a silver lining to all this non-believing, though. Because the Jewish people aren't all cool with Jesus, God has moved onto recruiting the Gentiles. Paul's kind of like the apostle to the Gentiles, so he's pretty psyched about this. He's come out hard in favor of the Gentile-Christians being just as good as the Jewish-Christians. Paul's also really done them a solid by telling them they don't have to worry about obeying every single Jewish law. No circumcision? No kosher food? No problem. If your heart is good, you're good. The other stuff is no big deal.
Okay, so everything is looking good, right? Not quite. The Gentile-Christians in Rome can be a little, well, full of themselves sometimes. They don't like the Jewish-Christians because they think that God rejected the Jews and Jewish law. No way! Paul tells them. He wants every Christian, regardless of their background, living in peace and harmony. Come on, guys. Can't we all just get along?
Paul closes his letter with some helpful advice for the Romans and some shout-outs to his friends in Rome. And, as always, he gives full credit for every good thing to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Peace. Paul, out.