Beloved and Saints
I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul is writing the letter we call Romans to the people in Rome we’d call Christians. He addresses them differently, as people “who are loved by God and called to be his own holy people.” This describes, not only the recipients of Paul’s letter, but all of us who belong to God through Christ.
Perhaps the most important thing that could be said about us is that we are “loved by God.” Because we are his beloved, he sent Christ to save us and bring us into an intimate relationship with him. The fact that God loves us is the bedrock of our existence. It reassures us, encourages us, and motivates us.
The love of God also inspires us to live as “his own holy people.” In more traditional terms, we are God’s saints, those who have been set apart by him for relationship and service. As holy people, we belong to God even though we live in this world. We seek to be like him, to act as he acts, and to honor him in everything we do. Our holiness touches, not just our private life or our religious endeavors, but our whole life in the world. At work and at leisure, in our politics and our volunteering, we are to live for God and to serve him. Holiness is an essential element of our high calling as Christians.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you experience God’s love for you? What does it mean to you to be holy? How are you seeking to live “in but not of” the world?
PRAYER: Gracious God, how can I ever thank you enough for your love. Because of your love for me, you have saved me from my sin . . . and so often from myself as well. You have reached out to me when I have been confused or despairing. You have poured out your love into my heart again and again. How thankful I am for your love!
What a privilege to have been set apart by you, dear Lord. You have made me holy through Christ, so that I might belong to you in love and serve you in every aspect of my life. Help me to live today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next and the next, as one who belongs to you and not to this world. May I live for you, imitating your own nature, filled with your Holy Spirit. In the name of Christ, Amen.