We go on to Romans 1:7-17
v7: To all who are in Rome: Paul formally addresses those to whom he is writing this letter.
- Saints: Literally: Holy ones. Holiness is not so much just a state of being (who we are), but it also involves a will, a purpose, etc (a “doing”). G-d has saved us and designated us to serve Him, to manifest His glory in the world.
- The L-rd: Paul emphasises the L-rdship of Messiah. We need to do the same – in our speech as well as in our actions.
v8: Your faith is spoken of: This congregation had a testimony that extended beyond their neighbourhood and city. Their reputation extended into the whole world. They had a faith that made a difference in the lives of others.
v9: Without ceasing: Without any type of hesitation, without any type of break.
v10: At last I may find a way: Paul wanted to travel to them very soon.
- To come to you: Paul had a great desire to be part of this congregation where the Spirit of G-d was moving. People in this congregation understood the L-rdship of Messiah. People were walking in the Spirit.
v11: Long to see you: The word used here alludes to a great desire. Paul was passionate about this.
- Impart to you some spiritual gift: Paul wanted to have an influence in this city and among this congregation of believers. He wanted to see people grow. He wanted to help them to recognise G-d’s authority in their lives – in the decisions they made and in how they spoke.
- Established: Strengthened. This strengthening (becoming stronger and more mature) was as an outcome of G-d’s Spirit moving in their lives. Paul wanted this congregation to mature so that they could have a greater influence among the people in the city of Rome.
v12: Faith: Faith should not be stagnant. Faith needs to grow and change. It needs to get stronger and mature. It needs to become more knowledgeable and more useful to G-d.
v13: Unaware: Ignorant. Unknowing.
- Brethren: Paul is talking to the believers in this congregation.
- (I) was hindered: When we are committed to G-d’s will, we will experience hindrance from the enemy. When we are faithful to G-d it is inevitable that we will experience opposition.
- That I might have some fruit: This was the reason why Paul wanted to go to this congregation in Rome. He wanted to be an instrument to help others to produce fruit in their lives.
- Fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles: Paul wanted to have influence over more and more people. He understood that as a Jew he had a call on his life to be a light unto the nations (Gen 12:3), a source of illumination to Gentiles.
v14: I am a debtor: Paul was obligated to them. Paul considered himself one of the worst sinners among men (1 Tim 1:15), yet G-d had graciously saved him. Paul understood that this act of grace was a free gift. We cannot repay G-d for what He has done, but receiving this gift does obligate us to be people who want others to see, experience and know that same forgiveness. It should cause us to want all people to enter into a new covenant relationship with G-d through the gospel – which is for all humanity.
- Greeks…barbarians: This verse is showing a contrast. In most people’s minds the Greeks, although they were idol worshipers and far from the truth of G-d, were considered highly cultured. Barbarians, on the other hand, were seen as uncultured. It did not matter to Paul who the people were – cultured or uncultured – he wanted all men to embrace the truth. He wanted all men to experience salvation and justification.
v15: I am ready: Paul was prepared. G-d was working in his life to make him prepared, but he was also someone who did his part in getting himself ready to serve G-d. He had studied the Word; he was trained in it. He had learned the proper principles for correctly interpreting the Word of G-d, etc.
- Preach: Evangelise. To preach in order to reveal the gospel message.
v16: I am not ashamed: Paul taught the gospel boldly and without compromise – although there were reprisals for doing so (beatings, arrest etc). Paul was not silenced, he did not back down and nor did he move aside in the face of intense opposition.
- It is the power of G-d: It is the gospel that brings us into contact with the power of G-d.
- Salvation: Salvation can be understood in two ways. As believers we have an initial contact with salvation when we are born again. As we enter into that covenantal relationship with G-d, through Messiah Yeshua, our sins are forgiven, and we receive eternal life and are then considered “saved”. However, as believers we need to see salvation in another way too. In the life of a believer, salvation works its way into our lives daily. Phil 2:12 reminds us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. This is not referring to the salvation that we receive when we are born again. This is referring to the salvation that has to do with victory – living in such a way as to overcome the enemy and his schemes. It is through the power of the gospel message that we can begin to live victoriously, that we can begin to live in G-d’s will. Part of salvation is living a victorious life.
- For the Jew first: Historically, according to the Scripture, it was G-d’s plan that the gospel was first given to Israel (for the Jew first) before it went to Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
- Greek: The non-Jew, the Gentile.
v17: In it: This would be better translated “in Him”. We find the righteousness of G-d in the One (”Him”) to whom this gospel message points, not in “it”.
- The righteousness of G-d: There is a relationship between the gospel and righteousness. When we are saved (and the only way to be saved is through the One to whom that gospel message points) it is going to bring righteousness to us. When we receive salvation, we are declared righteous in G-d’s sight, by His grace. This means that we have been eternally justified from all of our guilt and sinfulness (Roms 5:1).
- From faith to faith: This means that when we operate out of faith it is going to lead us (grow, mature and strengthen us) into a greater faith. Faith works itself out in order to bring us into a stronger or a greater faith. This impacts how we live.
- It is written: Paul backs up his teaching by basing it on the Scripture.
- The just (righteous) shall live by faith: Quoted from Hab 2:4. This means that we live according to faith. Faith takes us out of where we were and it brings us into a more pleasing and powerful expression of faith in G-d, through Messiah Yeshua.