Throughout the book of Romans Paul drives the recipients of His letter to the heart of the Gospel. He allows space for the questioning heart and yet holds a strong stand in pointing his reader back to the Gospel. After months of pining through his letter, asking questions, and delighting in the wonderful truths it holds and reminds us of, here below is a response back to Paul's letter.
What shall we say to these things? Should we give thanks and honor to you for writing this letter to the church in Rome? By no means! For you yourself said we are not to boast in our works, but in God. So we boast in God and his Spirit for supplying you the eloquence of word choice, pattern, and meaning that so powerfully displays the theology of which we as believers base our faith, as well as the penmanship of Tertius. Although at times we wished you would have spoken with greater clarity about which law you were referring to, we give praise to the Lord that the essence of the gospel you proclaimed is not new, but is in fact confirmed even through Old Testament stories such as that of Abraham.
God is righteous and full of truth, and was even before He called the Israelites His own and opened the eyes of the Gentiles. His mercy and grace allowed for “Christ [to become] a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” We thank the Father that we all, Jew and Gentile alike, were called through Christ and his finished work on the cross. In Christ, we see the promise fulfilled that the blind would see and the deaf would hear and understand, and we long for the day when those who are hindered by the law see clearly this truth. The heart you have for your fellow Israelite brothers and even for unbelieving Gentiles is an encouragement and exhortation to go to the lost around us as well as “among those where Christ has not already been named”. O, that we would have this same heart.
Your questions throughout your letter caused us to stop and reflect on your words, strengthening our beliefs and engaging us to dig deeper in the foundations of God’s righteousness, your summons to hope, our identity through Christ, our pursuit of Christlikeness, unity in the church, and the showing of honor among the brothers and sisters.
Your justification and defense of the righteousness of God and the dispensing of his wrath against all the ungodly magnifies the triumph of Christ and gives firm support to our foundation and hope in the gospel.
Your reminders to hope against hope strengthen us, in these still evil times, to be fully convinced in the truth, “that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” which will “not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” This is a hope to rejoice in the glory of God; a hope to hold fast to our redemption through Christ; and a hope to trust firmly in God’s promises.
We, Jake and Rachel, write this greeting with our own hands. We applaud your dedication and the earthly fruit that was harvested for the Lord as we celebrate with you that your desire to depart and be with Christ has been realized. May everlasting joy be yours forevermore.