Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
In this last chapter of this great letter, Paul mentions some friends to greet (in verses 1 through 16), some foes to avoid (in verses 17 through 20) and some faithful servants to honor (in verses 21-24). Then, he ends with a glorious word of praise to the only wise God who can transform us through his Son Jesus Christ.
What stands out to me about the Apostle Paul is that he must have been the kind of guy, who, if he had his way early on in life, would have spent all his time in his study, writing great thoughts for people to some day read. However, one day he encountered something he thought was a Jewish heresy–the teaching that Jesus was God in the flesh. That drove him out of the study and made him a persecutor of Christians. Then, having become a persecutor of Christians, he eventually came face to face with the person of the risen Lord Jesus, who turned his life completely upside-down. Saul became Paul. He left the study to take the message of Jesus’ transforming love to people all over the Roman Empire. The introvert became an extrovert for the sake of the Gospel.
I have often heard pastors jokingly say, “The Church would be great if it wasn’t for people.” Many people leave the Church forever because of run-ins they have with people. The bottom line is: we are all sinners and we hurt each other a lot. The good news is that Jesus’ hand is bigger than ours, and if we let him, he will pour so much love from his hands into our lives that it will overflow our hearts and spill into the lives of others. That is what Jesus did for Paul. That is what Jesus can do for us.
If you would like to listen to more of my messages on Paul's Letter to the Church at Rome, click here: Romans.