The Spirit Of Self-Sacrificing Love

In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul was prompted by the Holy Spirit to explain his special concern for the Jewish people (297).

Centuries before, God had chosen the Jews to know him & serve him.  Abraham, Isaac & Jacob were some of the very first people of faith; they had believed in God & they had learned to obey God.

Paul emphasized this order of things.  First, Abraham believed: this was the key to his relationship with God.  Then Abraham obeyed: this grew out of his faith in God.

However, as the inspired scriptures make abundantly clear, God’s chosen people subsequently chose often not to follow God.

God had always intended to include Gentiles in his family, and over time he did this – ultimately to include many of the Roman Christians to whom Paul was writing.

grafted and grateful copy

But Paul insisted that God has not forsaken the Jews; he will still rescue the remnant who will receive Jesus as Messiah.  In Jesus, God has opened the gates of heaven for all who will believe – both Jew & Gentile.

jew gentile

Then Paul returned his focus to the Christians in Rome.  Following Jesus involves sacrificing our independent self-lives to God, which Paul said is our continuing spiritual act of worship.  And Paul listed many behaviors which will result from this sacrifice – most notably, a new & inspired inclination to love other people, even our enemies.

Echoing Jesus, Paul argued that it is this sort of self-sacrificing love for other people that is the main characteristic of true faith in God.

self-sacrificing love

At several points in this letter, Paul expressed the hope of going to Rome & even beyond Rome, to carry the good news of God’s kingdom to Spain – which he may well have done in later life.


(297) Romans 9-16