The Epistle to the Americans

The letter below is comprised completely of verses from the New Testament epistles and a few verses from Isaiah, woven together into an exhortation to the church in America. Every verse and phrase is chosen intentionally. I have tried not to simply take verses out of context, but rather to be faithful to their context and flow of thought, even as I piece them together, so that the following letter would truly read as Jesus addressing his beloved and wayward church.

Paul, James, John, and Isaiah, servants of Jesus Christ1; and Jesus Christ himself, the ruler of the kings of the earth2:

To the church of God in America, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours3: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ4, who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom and priests to God.5

Beloved6, I am perplexed about you.7 For you say, “I am rich, I have prospered, I need nothing,” not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.8 Listen, my beloved: has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of his kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?9 For God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.10 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.11

Do not be conformed to this world,12 for our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.13 So I counsel you to buy gold refined by fire, that you may be truly rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.14 Wash yourselves in the blood of the Lamb15 and make yourselves clean; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.16 For if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?17 So let your love be genuine:18 share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house;19 love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.20 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily.21

I am astonished that you,22 who have been raised with Christ and seated with him in the heavenly realms,23 are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to another gospel– not that there is another one!24 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.25 But I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day.26 And you too were buried with him by baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, you too might walk in newness of life.27

So then, how can you who died to sin still live in it?28 Do not be deceived, my beloved:29 no one born of God makes a practice of sinning.30 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil. And the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.31 So cast off the works of darkness. The night is far gone and the day is at hand;32 the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.33 At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.34 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness;35 put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.36 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit.37 Be on your guard against all covetousness,38 and flee sexual immorality.39 For you may be sure that everyone who is sexually immoral, or who is covetous (that is, an idolator) has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ.40

I appeal to you by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that there be no divisions among you.40 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.41 In humility count others more significant than yourselves.42 Outdo one another in showing honor.43 Help the weak,44 avoid quarreling, be gentle towards all.45 Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you,46 for you are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.47 Here there is no slave nor free,48 neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus;49 Christ is all, and in all.50

Finally, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.51 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.52

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