By Terry Cheek Th.D.
Romans 1:8-15 will be my text for November. Paul begins by giving thanksgiving to God for the church of Rome. He writes about it with delight and triumph. The apostle teaches us the only way to know God personally is through Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Knowing God through a personal relationship allows us to understand better and be thankful for God’s Grace and Mercy. Our duties, praises, prayers, and worship please God only through Jesus Christ. We also must remember to express our love to our friends, not only by praying for them but by praising God for them. God must have the glory of all our fellowship and comfort in our friends, for every creature is the glory of God, and no more. Paul didn’t personally know many in the Roman church Paul, but that did not hinder him. Instead, he could rejoice in their gifts and graces. He lifted them in prayer, always giving thanks.
The church in Rome was a famous and flourishing church, yet they needed prayer. Paul mentions this as an instance of his love for them. One of the greatest kindnesses we can give our friends, and sometimes the only kindness within our ability is a prayer to the loving-kindness of God. Paul exampled a consistent and charitable prayer life. To pray for someone is one thing, but having a desire for constant and generous prayer in your heart is rare. James says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” It would benefit us to become fervent and incorporate Paul’s example into our prayer life. Fervent means burning. Paul had a burning desire to pray for the saints in the church in Rome. God’s word reminds me to examine my heart for this fervent prayer life. Are you?
Paul’s desire to visit this church was tremendous. Their reputation preceded his visit, and he greatly desired to be better acquainted with them. Fruitful Christians are as much joy as barren professors are the grief of faithful ministers. Accordingly, he often tried to visit but was led in other directions. Paul also became hindered by other businesses that took him away to care for other churches whose affairs were pressing. So Paul did what was most needed first, which was an excellent example to other ministers who depended on Paul’s leadership and mentorship. Until Paul could visit in person, this letter would have to suffice. We should rejoice with other Christians, those we know, and those we know only by reputation. To do so glorifies God and provides a testimony of the love of Christ through our lives. We can learn from this text the importance of being a Christian with a righteous and humble reputation. Paul has a two-fold desire to visit these Christians. First, he wanted to correct some lousy teaching and personal slander. Second, Paul needed fellowship from Saints hungry for the truth of God’s word. If you are hungry for the truth of God’s word, please understand you are a blessing to your Pastor, Sunday School teacher, or small group leader. Always let your hunger for the truth of God’s word be known to those who labor to give it.
Paul also saw himself as a debtor to both the educated and uneducated. He owed each the preaching of the gospel. If you are saved by Grace through Faith today, the Lord placed in your heart a desire to share the gospel. Sharing the gospel is not a ministry we choose. Instead, it is applied to our hearts when we answer the HolySpirits’ call to accept Christ’s saving Grace. Like Paul, we are debtors to mankind on behalf of God to share the gospel.
Beginning in verse sixteen, Paul addresses Justification. I want to cover such an important subject in my next submission.
Until we meet again, in print or in person, may God bless you is my prayer!
Terry is the Executive Director and broadcaster of The Inspiring Word media ministry
You can contact Terry by email at [email protected]
Or by visiting www.theinspiringword.org
Read more from Terry Cheek here.