I think as a life-long Christian I sometimes take for granted the things that I read in the Bible. It’s almost as if when I read it, I say in my mind (if unconsciously), “But of course.”
I wonder, though, if Paul still retained the wonder of the words he spoke when he wrote his letter to the Romans. That same wonder that Peter no doubt had when he was sent to Cornelius and saw the Holy Spirit poured out on Gentile believers (Acts 10-11).
My guess is Paul did.
Think about this for a moment. Paul was a lifelong Pharisee. A “Hebrew of Hebrews.” (Philippians 3:5). One, who all his life, thought of the Jews as being above every other race, particularly when it came to a relationship with God.
And yet he said to these Gentile Roman Christians,
Through him (Jesus) we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the Gentiles, including you who are also called by Jesus Christ. (5-6)
Paul was saying, “This gospel I have received is for all peoples. And, wonder of wonders (at least for me, a Jew), that includes you.”
Or as Paul wrote in another letter,
So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11-13)
All that, I think, was in Paul’s mind when he wrote his much shortened version of those words in Romans 1. And so he could say to these Roman Gentiles, “You are loved by God, called as saints. (7)
Paul stood in wonder at all this. The question is, do we?
Or do we just take for granted that God’s gospel, his love and his grace have been extended to us?
Let us never take his grace for granted. But let us take a step back whenever we read these kinds of words in scriptures…and marvel.