About this letter
Paul wrote this letter to introduce himself and his message to the church at Rome. He had never been to this important city, although he knew the names of many Christians there and hoped to visit them soon (15.22—16.21). Paul tells them that he is an apostle, chosen to preach the good news (1.1). And the message he proclaims “is God's powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles” (1.16).
Paul reminds his readers, “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory” (3.23). But how can we be made acceptable to God? This is the main question that Paul answers in this letter. He begins by showing how everyone has failed to do what God requires. The Jews have not obeyed the Law of Moses, and the Gentiles have refused even to think about God, although God has spoken to them in many different ways (1.18—3.20).
Now we see how God does make us acceptable to him:
He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ … God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.
God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.
A quick look at this letter
1. Paul and his message of good news (1.1–17)
2. Everyone is guilty (1.18—3.20)
3. God's way of accepting people (3.21—4.25)
4. A new life for God's people (5.1—8.39)
5. What about the people of Israel? (9.1—11.36)
6. How to live the new life of love (12.1—15.13)
7. Paul's plans and personal greetings (15.14—16.27)