Through the epistle, Paul makes a pitch for harmonious human relations. Having been distressed by the communal tensions between Gentiles, Jews and Christians, Paul hopes to convey a message of human solidarity. Paul’s sincerity is evident in the ‘Jew first’ motto he employed in the address. He reminded the groups in strife that they are all brothers and share the same genealogical and socio-historical origins. As for intimate relations, Paul condemns unnatural sexual acts. Such tendencies will reduce the moral and spiritual strength of the indulger and lead him toward depravity. (1:18) Hence, Paul expects the faithful to approach human relations with the same solemnity that they display in Church. In the same vein, Paul comes down heavily on violence. He says how aggressive behaviour can easily turn murderous. Paul forewarns that such consequences will lead to eternal damnation. Further, Paul encourages the faithful to be humble and honest in their relations with fellow humans.
Paul expects his audience to maintain authenticity of their culture. In a veiled attack on primate belief systems, Paul cautions against idol worship. He hints how some of the decadence seen in Rome is attributable to this practice. (1:20) Paul goes on to state how a culture of forgiveness is an imperative for a morally sustainable community. Forgiveness is a recurrent theme in chapters 3 through 5, where Paul also links them with righteousness and lawfulness. To be a Christian faithful entails respect for the testimony of the prophets. At the same time, Paul warns how ‘false teachers’ have corrupted the minds of some Romans. In the Epistle, Paul shows sound grasp of the political issues in Rome. According to him, for the Gentiles and Jewish Christians to march ahead in their spiritual quest, the political atmosphere should be devoid of scandal and jostling for power. Even the Roman Church had been adversely affected by opportunistic leadership. Paul expresses hope that a cleaner political culture would soon emerge in Rome. (6:1)
In conclusion, we can clearly see how the Epistle to the Romans is rich in numerous pertinent themes. Paul explicates to the readers how divinity is written into the natural order of the world. At the same time, he cautions spiritual seekers against being driven by natural instincts. These instincts, according to Paul, will lead toward sin and moral destruction. In terms of identity, the faithful should remember their composite heritage. They should also avoid hypocritical behaviour and express solidarity with larger humanity. Finally, a culture of respect for prophets is a desirable quality in the true Christian. According to Paul, the political culture of Rome should be conducive to the practice of Christianity without coercion.
Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Retrieved from <http://ebible.org/web/Romans.htm> on 30th June, 2014.