The book of Romans has a breadth to Paul’s theology that we don’t get in other epistles. Paul was writing from Corinth to the church in Rome about AD 57. Like other epistles (letters), this letter was written to address specific issues within the community receiving the letter. Paul’s focus on the Jewish-Gentile relationship is indicative that there may have been tension between the two groups of believers over the functional, fleshing out of the Christian faith.
A few issues Paul addresses that are still relevant today:
1) Salvation by grace or works?
2) What is the relationship between Gentile believers and the Jewish roots of the faith? (Ps – unless you’re actually Jewish by faith or ethnicity, you’re a gentile ☺)
3) Sin and Grace – I’m justified, but I still sin. Yikes!
Ultimately, the book of Romans is all about God’s mercy and judgment. The crux is the cross. In the cross, we see God’s wrath poured out and the mercy of Christ victoriously shine through. And it is for everyone.
Paul encourages the Romans to make sure they are leaning into what God has done for them, not what they do for God. As you read this letter, pretend it’s a letter written to you encourage you in your faith. Actually, you don’t have to pretend. It is a letter to you. It may call you to repentance in some areas; stretch your trust of God in others. In all of it, meditate on the implications being justified by Christ – freedom.