The point of the letter to the Romans is this: Completely dedicate your life to serving God.
We need to remember that Paul wrote this letter to the early Christians in Rome which was a mix of Jews and Gentiles. Paul reminds them and us that “all are under sin,” and “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom 3:9-10).
He goes on to explain how righteousness, or a standing before God can be obtained – “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom 3:22). This justification or being made righteous in God’s sight comes through faith in Jesus, and this justification is given by God as a gift through his grace (Rom 3:24). This justification is not earned by anything we do, but it is an unearned gift from God. The gift is not only the forgiveness of sins, but it includes the opportunity to be God’s children – “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings” (Rom 8:16-17). Paul shows that by God’s mercy the Gentiles have received the chance to be the sons of God in place of the nation of Israel (Rom 9:23-32).
Paul comes to the main point of his letter when he says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship” (Rom 12:1). Based on the knowledge that we are sinful, that by faith in Jesus we receive justification by God, and that we have the chance to be sons of God – it is reasonable that we should dedicate our entire life to serving God.
How do we do completely dedicate our lives to God? Paul tells us over the next four chapters. Here are some starting points: “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Rom 12:2), “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” (Rom 12:3), “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Rom 12:9), “Bless those who persecute you” (Rom 12:14), “Live in harmony with one another” (Rom 12:16), “Owe no man anything, but to love one another” (Rom 13:8), and “we who are strong ought to bear the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”