Peace and joy of the Christian. By Fabian Massa.

Translated from Spanish into English by Google Translate.

A. Introduction

        I. The purpose of the Letter to the Romans
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter, with three main purposes:
1) Communicate to the brethren in Rome of "some spiritual gift" (1.11). He had proposed many times to travel to the big city, capital of the empire that ruled most of the "known world" (1.9-10,13, 15, 15.22-23)
2) Assure that all believers to be "mutually comforted by faith" in Christ (1.11-12).
3) To evangelize and spread the Kingdom of God among the Romans (1:15). Paul, unable momentary visit to Rome, decided to send this letter.
The epistle was probably written around AD 55, during Paul's stay in the Greek city of Corinth.

  II. The historical

The Roman Empire was under the rule of Nero, who is associated with the tyranny, extravagance, and all sorts of vices. He is remembered for a series of systematic killings, including that of his own mother and his stepbrother Britannicus. It was a relentless persecutor of Christians. The Romans at first confused Christians with "a new Jewish sect" but then realized that it was a separate religion from Judaism and totally different from all other faiths of the Empire. Only Christians worshiped Jesus Christ and refused to worship the emperor as Lord of their lives. This to Rome was considered "high treason" and was punished with the death penalty. Thus, in addition to the persecution suffered at the hands of radical Jewish religious groups, joined undertaken by the Empire [1].
In this context, we must remember that the Roman emperors self-proclaimed "gods" (Lord of Lords) and made custom to erect statues of the emperor in the various cities of the empire. The obligation of the citizens of the Empire was to worship or at least kneeling before the statues of the emperors in the cities where they met. The Christians, on the principle that Jesus is the only Lord of lords, and the only son of the true God, refused to take such attitudes. The Romans, before judging their beliefs, these gestures would attitudes of a political rebellion against the empire, which led to various persecutions against Christians in that time.

Since Christianity was illegal in the Empire, Christians had to hide. Their meetings are secret and would then famous Roman catacombs, where Christians were meeting, but according to testimony preserved Christians, the catacombs were the most used to hide, since most of the meetings of worship, would secretly in the same houses of the faithful. To identify symbols have been used to Roman eyes were not evident, as the fish symbol, meant to them Jesus Christ, Son of God, Redeemer.


I Jesus Christ C, Θ God Son U, S Salvador

Son of God Jesus Christ our Savior.
            Symbol which is still used today among us.

B. Biblical text.

Romans 5. New International Version (NIV)

Christ our Peace and three reasons for joy.

5 Consequently, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Also through him, and through faith, we have access to this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces endurance, 4 endurance, strength of character, the strength of character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.
6 In truth, as we were still helpless, at the appointed time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, but man someone might possibly dare to die for a good person. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more so, through him, we shall be saved from the wrath of God! 10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
By believing that Jesus paid on the cross for our sins, we are justified before God and so we have peace. And thanks to this peace we receive from pure grace we can have joy these three reasons:

1. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

The Roman historian Suetonius (Roma 70 - 126) mentions caused riots in Rome in the time of Emperor Claudius, who ruled Rome from 41 to 54. "Cresto by one" who can be identified with Jesus Christ, whose doctrines should have been disclosed by immigrants or Jewish slaves in Rome. The reality of the believers in Rome during these years, was marked by insecurity, oppression, religious and political persecution. Christians would be persecuted and condemned to die Given this bleak picture, knowing this reality Paul taught to focus their hope in the glory in the Kingdom of God. In this way, they would have contentment in your mind when thinking about the fate of his eternity in the presence of the Lord.

The rejoice (rejoice, the RV60 says To glory) in the glory of God is a recurring theme of Paul:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I insist: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4.4 - 5. NIV.

Christ is near, both because his coming to seek the Church can happen at any time (we are entering Week 70) and is also close to all who seek him with a sincere heart.

2. We also rejoice in our sufferings:

When we do this, a miracle occurs: We bring to our present one part of the glory that we will live eternally in the presence of the Lord. Not that the problems go away, but we can cope alone and still in good mood. The word the NIV translates RV60 and suffering (5.3) in the Greek text says thilipis which literally means oppression. Paul teaches that the Christian tightness that focuses on Christ, not defeat it produces fortitude (hypomone): That is, an attitude that not only resists but overcomes actively testing.

Faith in Christ gives us peace amid the storm. And this peace produces in us that kindness that is evident to all. In another text the Apostle teaches:

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God and give him thanks. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.6 - 7. NIV.

Oppression and political persecution - religious in force in many parts of the world see the example of a current news:
On Wednesday March 20, 2013, the site Christian Headlines posted a link to Mike Law, a missionary who went to YouTube, a home video, where a group of Chinese Christians, makes them delivering some of Bibles, the which are received in despair, tears, joy and love. [2]
Although not revealed the place where delivery is made, nor created where the video should be for safety reasons, although what you see, it seems that the delivery of these Bibles were made to a family unit that possibly is pastoring Law, who preferred to omit details and highlight their value Bibles for Chinese Christians.
With advances in technology, thousands of copies are carried on memory cards to China, but do not seem to replace the paper version.
In mainland China, the sale of copies of the Scriptures is prohibited by the government, which is officially atheist. There are reports that many Bibles have been confiscated and many people have been arrested for carrying them.
Many missions are engaged in the arduous task of penetrating the world's most populous country, with copies to distribute to the underground church, which is widespread in the country. However, faced government persecution, the Chinese Christians have made copies of handwritten Bibles, but usually only the leaders have their copies.
Years ago, David Aikman, author of "Jesus in Beijing", noted the incongruity of the Chinese government to ban religion in the country, but in ordinary bookstores can find books on Buddhism, atheism, Islam, including the Koran, not and the Bible.
Our Chinese brothers find joy in having a Bible, have comfort in eating the Bread of Life.


3. We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Thanks to the work of Christ on the Cross we have peace with God, we are reconciled to Him This is momentous for us, again we are reconciled to God and brings us many blessings:

        I. Because of this reconciliation, we can approach entrusted to His throne of grace Heb. 4.16.
      II. Because of this reconciliation, we have peace with God through Christ. Eph. 2.15
    III. Because of this reconciliation, friendship and so we will be good and restore us. Job.22.21 - 23

21 "Submit to God, peace with him please,
and prosperity back to you.
22 accepts the teaching that flows from his mouth;
Record his words in the * heart!
23 If you return to the Almighty
away from your home and wickedness,
will be fully restored. Job 22.21 - 23 NIV.


[1] The systematic persecution that made Rome the Church of Christ began in 50 AD and ended in 313 d. C. when was legalized (Edict of Milan) and converted into the "official religion of the Empire" by the Roman Emperor Constantine "the Great."


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