Roman society and culture was grand and the world power of that day. They had achieved much and had given society the seeds of its future which we still reap its benefits today. But it was a society in moral decay. Pride and arrogance had overcome them and they assumed they were the pinnacle of creation, of thought and in their own arrogance their own god. As their world began to crumble around them, they needed a scapegoat. Christians were an easy out. Blame them and their Jesus for all of this and their world wouldn't have to face reality. Things got bad for the Christians of that day. Persecutions, martyrdom and more.
So when Paul says that love must be sincere that flew in the face of a world that had replaced love with lust, homosexuality and more. To hate was was evil and to cling what was good made these Romans Christians a weird lot. They would be called narrow minded and judgmental. Roman society couldn't tell the difference between right and wrong. Devotion, Paul writes, is in each other. That is opposed to the materialistic, selfish mindset of Romans who were proud of their monuments, statues and buildings. Honor everyone above yourself. In a solid cast system of that day that had to challenge some to adopt a servants attitude even though they were the masters.
Then Paul turns the tide a bit and and addresses their personal life. He instructs them to keep their zeal, their spiritual fervor. in other words, don't lose your strength - it and it alone is what is going to get you through what is about to happen. Have joy in hope. But not just any hope, hope in Jesus and His promises. This will change your attitude. Be patient in affliction. Whether its form life or from persecution. Patience changes our love towards others and even ourselves. Then never quit praying, because prayer changes things!