Yellow Balloons Devotional Series: Advent

Romans 1:7

The Apostle Paul writes to the world-renowned believers in Rome, the center of the world at that time, in order to answer a slanderous charge made to them against Paul and his message. Paul’s detractors claim his emphasis on faith overturns the law. Paul says that ” just living by the law” does not achieve personal justice before God, while “just living by faith” does. Paul then demonstrates what a just life looks like: harmonious living with Jesus as the leader. Paul also makes clear the choice a believer has: to walk in faith and the power of the resurrection and experience resurrection life, or walk in sin and unnecessarily experience the negative consequences.

Paul makes clear his respect for the believers in Rome, acknowledging that their “faith is being proclaimed throughout the world” (Romans 1:8)and states his central theme that the just or righteous live by faith empowered with resurrection power, while unjust living based on our own pride and strength leads to wrath and destruction.

After introducing himself, Paul addresses his audience: all of the believers in Rome.

Paul writes this letter to all the believers in Rome who are saints. The word “as” does not appear in the original language before the word “saint” (as indicated by the italics). The Greek word “hagios” translated here “saint” is used in the New Testament to refer to anyone who has received the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit through the blood of Jesus. “Hagios” is most often translated “holy”, a word which carries the notion of being set apart for a special purpose.

All believers in Jesus are set apart for a special purpose. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that every one of us has a special work God has appointed just for us. In this sense, all believers are holy so all believers are saints. This is the way Paul means to use saint in this passage – he is referring to all the believers. Some church traditions elevate the lives of certain believers as particularly excellent examples for us to emulate, using the word “saint” as a special designation. Since the lives of these people are special, they are “set apart” so this is a proper use of the term. However, it is important to note that the Scripture does not use the word in this sense. In the Bible, every believer is set apart for a special work, although it is up to us to choose to walk in that path.

Grace here is the Greek word “charis,” which means “favor.” The favor of God is always bestowed because God chooses to give it. God is God, and will not be controlled; he is not subject to any sort of standard apart from Himself. His very name is “I AM” – the definition of existence. Paul wishes for the favor and peace of God to rest upon these Gentile Roman believers.

Biblical Text

7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.