For the next several weeks, we'll be going through the book of Romans on our Freshley blog. We're excited to cover this book for many reasons. One is that one of the main purposes the author, Paul, has in writing this letter is to explain the Gospel. While this is the foundation of Christianity, it can sometimes be confusing to grasp. We won't have all of the answers, but we have to go through the book with you to provide information and tackle some of the tougher passages of scripture.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed - a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

- Romans 1:8-17

The church in Rome was likely made up of Jews and Gentiles. You'll see that Paul repeatedly addresses the fact that the Gentiles (us) are included because of the Jews rejection of Jesus. And that the Jews will again be included one day when they realize that the Gentiles have been enjoying the promise that has always been meant for them. "For if [the Jews] rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" (Romans 11:15).

As you read through Romans with us, keep in mind the common theme that Paul is trying to get across: you are not righteous by your works, but by faith in Jesus. You are now righteous because Jesus died for you, which means you should now live out of the love God has for you instead of trying to earn God's love for you.

- Michele Houston