As Jerusalem was the centre of Jewish life, Rome was the world’s political, religious, social and economic centre during the Roman Empire. There the major governmental decisions were made, and from there the Gospel spread to the ends of the earth.
Apostle Paul had heard of the church in Rome, but he had never been there, nor had any of the other Apostles. The church was begun by Jews who had come to the faith during Pentecost (Acts 2). They spread the faith on their return to Rome and the church grew.
The church in Rome was a cosmopolitan mixture of Jews, Gentiles, slaves, free people, men, women, Roman citizens and world travellers. Therefore it had potential for both great influence and great conflict. Paul felt a bond with these Roman followers of Jesus Christ and sent this letter to introduce himself and to make a clear declaration of the faith.
Jews and Christians stood against the idolatrous Roman religions, and Roman officials often confused the two groups. By the time Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, many Gentiles had joined the church. The Jews and Gentiles needed to know the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.
Apostle Paul clearly sets forth the foundations of the Christian faith. He states ALL men are sinful; Jesus Christ died to forgive sin; individuals are made right with God through faith; this begins a new life with a new relationship with God.
Paul gives clear, practical guidelines for the believers in Rome. The Christian life is not abstract theology unconnected with life, but has practical implications which will affect how we choose to behave and present ourselves to one another. It is not enough to only know the gospel, believers must let it transform our lives allowing God to impact every aspect of our lives.
When our purpose is to give credit to God for his love, power and perfection in all we do, Christians can serve him properly. Serving God unifies all believers and enables them to show love and sensitivity to others. Each one of us must seek to become fully Christ-like, but knowing that it takes the entire body of Jesus Christ to fully express Christ.