Saturday, September 27, 2014

Romans 1:8-17

Romans 1

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. 9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, 10 always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

Perhaps Romans 1:16 is what one normally thinks about from Chapter 1 of this book, but there is much to discuss before we get to that part.

Paul encourages.  He does this a lot. One can imagine why.  Here is a group of Christians in the middle of hostile territory.  Some of them were going through some tough times...well why don't we say that all of them were going through some tough times, because it was true. Just as it is in the Middle East and parts of Africa and other parts of the world where Christians are in the minority we know from what we read in the papers and online that many of them are being persecuted and tortured and even killed.  In Paul's time it was no different.  These people were being pounded day after day.  Paul encourages them.  However he does not encourage them with platitudes but with TRUTH.

Vs 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

Paul says he thanks God for them through Jesus Christ.  Not because they were in Rome, but because of their faith!  It was a strong faith and a faith that was not shy.  It was a faith that was being talked about and proclaimed,something that was lifted up as an example of faith.  A faith that Paul says is being proclaimed, not only in Rome,but a faith that is being proclaimed throughout the whole known world!  In due time, this faith would reach the whole world that we even know today.

Vs 9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, 10 always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;

Paul is so impressed with their faith that he uses the Roman Christians as examples of how faith  should be.  He encourages them by saying is praying for them constantly and finally, he may even be able to visit them in person.  He is stoked!  He wishes that he could see them in person to impart some spiritual gift.  What this gift was or would have been, he fails to mention.  Maybe because it was not up to him which gift the Spirit would give them.  That is best left to the Spirit, who decides what gift is needed to build up the body of Christ.  At any rate, this gift would be used to "establish" them... To make them firm; to bolster their faith and to build them up even further.

13 I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

Paul was eager to come to visit the church at Rome.  Interestingly, he states that he has been prevented from doing so.   I reckon this perhaps in two different ways.  1) That the Spirit Himself prevented Paul from fulfilling his desire to visit.  This is not unheard of even in Paul's ministry.  Paul was very sensitive to the Spirit and His leading and he would not have wanted to go against what the Spirit said.  If the door was not open, then he would have to be satisfied to wait.  This even happens to us today.  Many times I have been asked to travel to someplace to minister and my answer has always been, "If the Lord opens the door I will be there."  One caveat in that...make sure you are willing to go if the door does open...don;t let it be an excuse for you NOT to go just because you are being stubborn.  I too, speak with experience on this as there have been times, I have resisted the Spirit's leading just because I felt it would be a bad move.  We all need practice what we preach and trust God more...me included!

2) The other way this could be looked at is that Satan was delaying his visiting the Romans. This too is echoed in Scripture for if you read Daniel 10:10-14 we see that when Daniel had prayed that an Angel of God was dispatched but he was stopped from seeing Daniel for 21 days until  Michael came and interceded with the "prince of the kingdom of  Persia" who was preventing the messenger in reaching Daniel.   Scholars have conclude that this so-called prince was actually a demon who had dominion over Persia.  Is it any wonder that there are problems in the Middle-East today?  These demons still exist...and they still battle the Lord and His people.

Paul also makes it clear that he is ministering to ALL PEOPLE. Not just the Jews, but also the Gentiles...which is basically everyone else. In our own lives, we must be open and willing to minister and to tell our testimony to anyone and everyone.  We do not have the right to with hold the keys of the kingdom, which is what we are doing when we refuse to give the good news to people we do not like or to people we don't think deserve to hear the Gospel.  Open yourself up to the possibilities. God will do the rest.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

Here is these 2 verses is the crux of all of Romans. Verses 16 and 17 Lay the foundation of Paul's belief and practice of the Gospel message.

Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel! Why? Because it is the power of God!
For what purpose? For salvation to everyone who believes!
To whom does this apply? To the Jew first and also to everyone else!
What is the message? The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel message!
How shall we grasp such a message of Salvation? By Faith! as it is written," But the righteous man shall live by faith."!

This stuff preaches itself!  You do not need to add to it at all.  Just ask the right questions and the answers are self-evident!

Blessings to you as you read through Romans!