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Why does Paul write a letter to the Romans? There are a number of reasons, not just a single one. One reason is that he wants to be assisted by them as he goes to Spain on a mission trip. But above all, he writes as the apostle to the Gentiles because of the grace that has been given to them, to write to establish them, and to make sure things are going well at the church in Rome because that’s his responsibility. He had a unique view of his apostleship.
What do you do when pain comes? The fact of the matter is that pain -- physical, emotional, spiritual -- is one of the greatest tools the Lord has to conform us to the image of his Son, to grow us up spiritually. The absence of pain is not God’s greatest good; I don’t see it listed anywhere in the Bible as a good thing. The goal of life is to grow in the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) and so grow into the likeness of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). Pain helps us do this.
Forgiveness is the grace to start over. We are sinners and the consequences of our sinning spread like blood in the water. Inevitably we experience its painful effects in our relationships. Whenever we hurt someone else we try to rationalize our actions and make excuses for what happened. When others hurt us we want revenge and if we give in to that desire for revenge a vicious cycle of violence develops.
To continue the imagery of the gate, the latch on the gate keeps it shut. Pull as hard as we wish, we can't open the gate. But as we'll see, God is willing to reach down and unlatch the gate for us, so we can walk through. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."