“To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7, KJV 1900)
Often when we address someone in a letter and we do not know the person to whom we are writing we use a generic salutation like this. “To whom it may concern.” Sometimes we might use, “Dear Sir or Madame.” These types of greetings are impersonal and do not demonstrate a heartfelt connection to the recipient.
Paul repeatedly addressed the recipients of his letters with a heartfelt blessing. Here, while not addressing every believer in Rome by name, he addresses them as those who are “loved by God and called to be saints.” He affirms that God loves all those who believe and that He has declared them to be saints, hagios, most holy ones. Paul then goes on to express a blessing for the saints, extending to them “Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” I have contemplated this greeting and wonder, is Paul extending a direct word from God to them, a reminder of the grace and peace that God has provided, or a prayerful desire that they would experience this grace and peace in life? After thinking about it, I believe it may be all three.
What a beautiful salutation. Should we not address other believers in the same way? I mean with the heartfelt blessing and encouragement that this short greeting provides? My dear believers, beloved of God and Saints, “Grace and peace to you from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”