This letter is from Paul, Jesus Christ's slave, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.
This Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.
It is the Good News about his Son, Jesus, who came as a man, born into King David's royal family line.
And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. a5
Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.
You are among those who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ,
dear friends in Rome. God loves you dearly, and he has called you to be his very own people. May grace and peace be yours from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me say first of all that your faith in God is becoming known throughout the world. How I thank God through Jesus Christ for each one of you.
God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart b by telling others the Good News about his Son.
One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you.
For I long to visit you so I can share a spiritual blessing with you that will help you grow strong in the Lord.
I'm eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.
I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, c that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. I want to work among you and see good results, just as I have done among other Gentiles.
For I have a great sense of obligation to people in our culture and to people in other cultures, d to the educated and uneducated alike.
So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach God's Good News.
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes -- Jews first and also Gentiles.
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life." e18
But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. f19
For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. g God has put this knowledge in their hearts.
From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused.
Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead.
And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes.
So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies.
Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.
That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.
And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved.
When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done.
Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.
They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents.
They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving.
They are fully aware of God's death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)