21st September 22
Read — Romans 1:13-15
Message Alan Burke
Paul prayed desiring to be with the believers in Rome, those whose faith was being talked about, he prayed that by God’s will a way would be opened. Paul’s prayer was God-honouring, he was content to stay where he was but he continued to pray, asking, seeking, knocking, he did not know God’s will but he prayed knowing that the Father may not grant his request. God always answers, although His timing and sometimes in ways that He answers are not what we do expect or had wanted or imaged. Little did Paul know that the Lord did will him to God to Rome it, but it would be that Paul would journey to Rome as a prisoner to share the gospel. It was God who had kept him thus far from going to Rome, he had been prevented, regular responsibilities as well as the Spirit’s work had kept him from going.
We also learn something of the makeup of the church in Rome, for Paul desired that there would be a harvest among them, that there would be fruit just as there had been among other gentiles that he had been with. We learn that the Roman church was primarily gentiles, there were likely a few jewish converts mixed in but Jewish Christians had been removed from Rome by the Emperor Claudius a short time before this epistle was written.
And Paul says in the midst of this that he is bound to both Greeks and non Greeks. The word translated in the NIV and ESV as obligated, more literally means debtor as some translations rightly point out. The meaning that is being conveyed by Paul is not that he is obligated or indebted to Greeks and non Greeks because he owes them anything as such, but his indebtedness, his obligation is to God and a burden, a desire that Greeks and non Greeks might know the gospel of God, that they would know His Son. It is a debt that he owes not to the people themselves but to God and to Christ, and it is seen in how he wants to discharge that obligation that they might hear the gospel. This is Paul’s fervent desire, this is his purpose in life, to preach the gospel, to tell of the wonderful salvation that had come to him and proclaimed it to others.
Later in 1 Corinthians Paul exclaimed “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16). His desire was that he would be able to share the gospel of God because of what God had done for him in Christ Jesus, how he had been saved from his sin and made righteous by another. Paul had every reason to boast in the flesh, he was a true Israelite, a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, he persecuted the church, but all of what he once was he put aside so that he may proclaim Christ, preaching the gospel of what he had done, for what ever he had he counted it loss for the compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord (paraphrasing Phil 3:4–8.)
What is our motivation, Christ had called Paul to himself and now Paul lived for Christ, he was a servant of Christ, as verse one puts it or rather Slave of Christ. What is our desire, for our neighbours, friends, loved ones, similarly we who’ll be those who know the debt that we owe, and out of gratitude, counting all things loss, we should desire to make the name of Christ known, sharing the good news, Paul was under no obligation, but he desired people may know the salvation he received, the knowledge of sins forgiven, of how he was saved from a lost eternity, do we desire that for others?
Q58 What is required in the fourth commandment?
The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself. (Deut. 5:12–14)