The First 15

Monday June 21, 2021

by Julian Hobdy

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father – help me start today with a clear heart and a clear mind ready to receive your word in a brand new way today. Amen.

Scripture Reading

Romans 1:1-7

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.


The Book of Romans is undoubtedly one of the most popular New Testament texts, and for good reason. Paul almost exclusively writes to communities of believers, and the Book of Romans is no exception. We resonate with it because it is a personal letter from a pastor to a people. It’s the longest of Paul’s epistles (or letters) and likely the last one he wrote. In Paul’s greeting, he sets a pace for the rest of the letter. He describes this faith community as “loved by God and called to be [God’s] holy people.” As we read through this letter together, perhaps it’s good to begin there. Let’s remember that we too are “loved by God,” and we are “called to be God’s holy people.” That inherently implies tremendous benefits, but also, tremendous responsibilities.

To be “called,” in this instance is something akin to an invitation. We are invited to be God’s holy people. An invitation is a special offering on behalf of the host, and the host takes on a special responsibility for their guests. As persons called into fellowship with God, we recognize that God assumes a unique responsibility as our host. Additionally, our invitation is to be and become God’s holy people.

As you reflect on today’s reading, ask yourself what it means to be both “loved by God” and to be “called (or invited) to be God’s holy people?” Where are you needing or experiencing God’s love? As a disciple of Christ, where are you experiencing God’s calling you to act?

Closing Prayer

Lord, these are your words. This is our story. Help me live in a way that honors you today and everyday. Amen.

The First 15

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