Romans 1:8-15Amplified Bible
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith [your trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] is being proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God, whom I serve with my spirit by preaching the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how continuously I mention you 10 in my prayers; always pleading that somehow, by God’s will, I may now at last come to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift, to strengthen and establish you; 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, [a] brothers and sisters, that many times I have planned to come to you, (and have been prevented so far) so that I may have some fruit [of my labors] among you, even as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I have a duty to perform and a debt to pay both to Greeks and to barbarians [the cultured and the uncultured], both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am ready and eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
In my brief experience as a pastor, and now as a writer of these devotions, I would never try to describe preaching as either easy or boast as simply fun.
But it can be incredibly meaningful when you sense that something in your message of God’s love connects with your listeners.
So, I can appreciate that the Apostle Paul is indescribably eager to preach the gospel to the people he most adamantly cares about in Rome.
The Apostle Paul is eager not because he thinks he’s so good at what he does or because he desperately desires to become the headliner for a few performances before tens of thousands of Roman citizens in the empire’s great colosseum.
The reason for his eagerness comes from the fact the gospel is the power of God.
And it is power for a specific purpose – Salvation.
The gospel is not power to get a new bill of health, to gain a reputation, or to sell a specific bill of goods or services or to gain the friend or spouse you desire.
It’s not power for financial success or fault-free parenting. It’s not power to get into heaven when you die.
It is God’s power for salvation.
And salvation has absolutely everything to do with getting to where we most desperately desire to be in our connection, Koinonia, relationship with God.
Paul’s eagerness in all this is a reflection of God’s desire.
God wants me to belong to him as fully and as completely and as maximally as I can in the life I am now trying to live.
That’s the point of the gospel, and that is its power.
The challenge for me is to have the same eagerness for God that God has for me.
The same eagerness which Apostle Paul expresses in His Epistle to the Romans.
Introducing himself, Paul gives us concise statements of the Gospel of God.
• The good news has absolutely everything to do with Lord Jesus Christ, the descendant of David by birth and declared the Son of God by His resurrection.
• Jesus’ death and resurrection brought us into a new relationship with God.
In these few lines, Paul laid out the thrust of his letter – the message of the Gospel.
This letter of Romans is different from the other letters he wrote, which concern the churches and their problems and needs.
• Romans focuses on God and His plan of salvation for man, both Jews and Gentiles.
• Paul wrote the letter while he was in Corinth during his 3rd missionary journey.
• He was on his way back to Jerusalem with the collections from the Gentiles churches.
• So, the practical reason for the Letter was to communicate to the Roman Christians that he was planning to visit them after this trip to Jerusalem.
More importantly, he writes to present a clear explanation of the Gospel, the message that he has been entrusted with and proclaiming all this while.
• This was called for because of the differences in understanding between the Jewish and Gentile believers, with regards to their salvation in Christ Jesus.
Is there not now, in these times and seasons of 2022 great differences and even greater divides and chasms among Christians with regards to their salvation?
Are there not, even today, great expressions among “the believers” of ……
“You take your ‘theology’ and go your way towards your salvation!” and
“I will take my ‘theology’ and go my way towards my salvation!” and
“In the end we will see who is right, know who’s wrong, by who is in Heaven!”
Paul set forth the Gospel to unite us theologically and present Christianity fully.
• Romans turn out to be the longest of Paul’s letters that we have and the most in-depth, comprehensive exposition of the Gospel of Salvation in Jesus Christ.
That explains the introduction. He set the tone right.
• It is not about Paul’s message, or Peter’s message but the message of God; a message that is built upon the foundation of God’s revelation in the Scriptures.
• Salvation through Christ ALONE!
It is not any mere or meager afterthought but the plan of God all along and fulfilled in the Person and work of Jesus Christ – his death and resurrection.
• To bring lost humanity back to an eternally living relationship with Christ!
Romans 1:8-10Amplified Bible
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith [your trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] is being proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God, whom I serve with my spirit by preaching the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how continuously I mention you 10 in my prayers; always pleading that somehow, by God’s will, I may now at last come to you.
A deep and abiding concern for the believers in Rome was reflected in Paul’s opening message of thankful praise for each of them.
Indeed, their faith in the Lord Jesus had been made known throughout the Roman Empire.
What a wonderful, inspiring testimony of these dear saints of God, and what an awesome message of encouragement to all of us to boldly proclaim the glorious gospel of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe.
Paul desperately did not want any single part of this important epistle to be lightly received, or lightly taken for granted and so he laid emphasis on his calling, his apostleship, and his bond service for the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
But infinitely more than this Paul called upon the eternal God of the universe, Creator of heaven and earth, as witness to his own deep and loving concern for their planted by God, blossoming, growing and maturing spiritual wellbeing.
Like all who trust in Jesus Christ, Paul had been given a new nature – a new life in Christ which delighted to spread the good news of the glorious gospel of Christ in spirit and truth, which loved these believers with a Christ-like love.
Paul’s love for these believers was reflected in his deep and earnest concern for them, as he constantly made mention of them to the Lord Jesus in daily prayer.
Let us seek to develop the same eagerness to preach and proclaim the Gospel.
The most eager and deep and loving concern for ALL our brothers and sisters in Christ, as we, like Paul, lift them up in earnest prayer to our Father in heaven.
Imagine yourself being a part of a faith community that was famous around the world because of its active faith.
When I meditate and ponder upon this Epistle to the Romans, it’s interesting the Roman believers did not have a previous visit from one of the Apostles.
After the persecution broke out in Jerusalem and the true believers fanned out, they spread the gospel everywhere. They made it as far as Rome and their church was thriving, and soon reports of their faith made it back to Paul.
One of Paul’s main goals in life was to visit Rome for mutual encouragement (Romans 1:11-12).
Paul was actively praying for an opportunity to go, but later in this letter he explains why he hadn’t been able to come (Romans 15:20-22).
He was hindered because there were many places in between that needed the gospel, which delayed his trip.
Amazingly, Paul reveals a bit of his passionate nature in midst of his waiting, “I remember you in my prayers at all times.”
Paul is simply reminding the Romans that, in the same way he serves the Lord wholeheartedly, this is the same way he remembers them in prayer. He thanks God for them and their faith and asks that the way be opened for him to come.
We can learn much from Paul.
Today, if you and I genuinely want to pray for people and do not know where to start, then start thanking God for their faith and what He is doing in their lives.
When we can recognize the way, He is working in others, we will see how He’s working in us and then find mutual encouragement through the Gospel of God.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
O Lord my God, you are my shield and my strength. Help me to trust you with my decisions and my future. Let me lean on you and the message of your Gospel, with all my heart instead of relying on my own frail, faulty, failed understanding. Give me clear guidance in my life Lord. As I submit myself to your Gospel, I know that you will direct my paths and I can have confidence that your direction is always the best way to go. Lord, bless me and keep me, make your face shine upon me. Turn your face towards me and give me peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Alleluia! Amen.