United by Sin and Salvation
Paul’s reason for writing to the church in Rome was to address the division between Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were teaching legalism and boasting in the law and their circumcision. Paul shows that none are righteous of their own works, that the Law was given to reveal sin, and that through the sacrifical system none can be saved. Paul shows that all are in sin, and all can be saved only by grace through Christ’s redeeming sacrifice.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. (Romans 3:21-25).
United as God’s People
Paul also argues that it is those in Christ who are God’s people, His elect, and not those who are Jews by race. They are brothers in Christ, sons of God, heirs with Christ and have been adopted into the same faith. He calls them to live in harmony with one another through love, mutual up building and by serving one another. They have been given different gifts in order to do this; gifts are not for boasting or for selfish ends.
United as the church, today
It is easy to imagine Romans being written to our divided church of today. We are often quick to judge those who common from different denominations, worship in different ways or have different opinions to our own. There can be multiple churches in the one community serving it in a very haphazard way due to pride preventing communication and liaison. The church needs to take a look within itself and start applying some of these truths in order to build unity. We are the church; it is not just the buildings. And we need to humble ourselves for the sake of unity.
Ask yourself: How can I build unity this week? Who do I know has been hurt by the church and how can I show them love? How can I promote unity within my church? How can I prefer others this week? How can I serve one person practically; whether with a meal, weeding, etc?
Unity glorifies God