Romans 1: 8 – 17 Paul’s longing to visit Rome

Romans 1: 8 – 17 Paul’s longing to visit Rome

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times, and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to see you.

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I may have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

I am a debtor both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’

*        *        *

What a good start! Before he begins any teaching, Paul takes a moment to thank God for the believers. He assures them that he prays constantly for them. This is a great example to any of us at the beginning of an activity. By praying, we open ourselves to the voice of the Holy Spirit; if we listen and obey, God will be able to work through us.

Perhaps we should start every day by offering it to God from the moment we wake up?

Paul then says “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong”. The epistle was probably written when Paul was in Corinth, and we know from his epistle to the Corinthians that the right use of spiritual gifts was a central part of Paul’s ministry.

If Paul regarded the gifts of the Holy Spirit as making believers strong, should we not be more aware of them in our churches today? What is different between then and now, in terms of how God works with humanity?

And then it is as though Paul suddenly realises that he sounds rather overbearing, so he adds “– that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

Paul explains that he wishes to come to the Roman believers “in order that I may have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.” When we look at Paul’s life, though, we see that he never visits Rome voluntarily; when he travels there, he is a prisoner in chains. It is as though his ministry there could only be effective when carried out in weakness and captivity.

And now, at last, we come to the theme of the epistle:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”

The righteousness that Jesus brings – to us! – is by faith “from first to last”.

Prayer

Heavenly Father

Thank you that through faith in Jesus we are made righteous. Help us to pray and act in faith at all times. Help us to listen to the prompting of your Holy Spirit and obey your will.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

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