“to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7).

Though the Christians in Rome are a people of diverse ethnicity and backgrounds, Paul distinguishes them by no other names than “beloved” and “saints.” Both terms are counted among the various expressions used to describe Israel in the Old Testament, but also point forward to the fulfillment of prophecy and the time when the Gentiles will be counted among the beloved (Hosea 2:23). These two designations also reflect Paul’s understanding of the covenant promises made to Israel, and now fulfilled in Christ Jesus. As such, those who were formerly separate from the commonwealth of Israel by flesh (birth), are now grafted into Israel’s heritage by faith (11:17). And this to our benefit!

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