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STUDY IN THE ROMAN LETTER


                           LESSON TWENTY-SIX



                  
Begin In Chapter Fifteen, Verse 14

 
  
 

        The apostle has just proved by quotations from the Old Testament that the Gentiles were to become God’s people that they would praise and trust in the Lord.  Paul was persuaded that the Roman Christians fulfilled perfectly these prophecies.   He was convinced of their faithfulness and ability.  (Verse 14).    


        Not having seen the church at Rome would seem to bar Paul from writing so boldly to them.  He explains this on the ground of being the apostle to the Gentiles.  The offering up of the Gentiles, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, was just as acceptable to God as the offering of the Jew.  Under the gospel of God the body is the Sacrifice – a living sacrifice.  (Rom. 12:1)  (Verses 15, 16).   


        Paul glorified in his Gentile ministration of the gospel.  This glory pertained to God through Christ.  (Verse 17).   


        Paul would use none of the many things he probably could have used, possibly in the experience of the other apostles.  (Gal. 1:11-24) to cause obedience among the Gentiles.  He was abundantly endowed by the Spirit as an apostle to the Gentiles for this work.  He came not one whit behind the other apostles.  (2 Cor. 11:5) this was attested “through mighty signs and wonders by the power of God” where ever Paul had gone.  (Verses 18, 19).   


        The apostle was very careful to avoid encroachment upon the work of another.  His attempt to carry the gospel where Christ had not been named could be emulated to with splendid results.  He particularly applies the quotation from Isaiah 52:15 given in the 21st verse to the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles.  One of the agreements coming out of the Jerusalem conference was that Peter was to go to the Jews while Paul ministered to the Gentiles.  (Gal. 2:8, 9) By the work of Paul and his co-laborers the Gentile world heard the gospel during the first century.  (Rom. 10:18)  (Verses 20, 21).   


        “For this cause,” the cause of preaching the Gospel among the many to whom he had gone, Paul was hindered – delayed – from coming to Rome.  (Verse 22).   


        The apostle contemplated a journey into Spain, then a province of the Roman Empire.  On his way he expected to stop at Rome and by the aid of the church there be helped on his way to Spain.  There were many pleasant outlooks voiced by the apostle for his visit.  Whether he was ever able to make the journey into Spain is a matter of conjecture.  Traditionally, he is said to have gone to Spain at the conclusion of his first captivity in Rome.  However, he did go to Rome.  He went bound for the defense of the gospel of Christ.  As he penned the language of this chapter he planned a trip to Jerusalem.  The events of this trip led to his arrest, his appeal to Caesar, and his lone and dangerous voyage to Rome.  (Read Acts Chapters 21 through 28).  (Verses 23-25).   


        The Macedonian and Achaian churches had made a contribution to relieve the Christians at Jerusalem.  Macedonia was the first part of Europe visited by Paul.  Philippi and Thessalonica were in this part of Greece.  Achaia (
uh-KAY-yuh) and Athens as its center.  Corinth was located in Achaia.   (Verse 25, 26).   


        The apostle reasoned that Gentiles were indebted to the Jews for bringing them the gospel and their spiritual things then it was just for them to share their carnal things with the unfortunate poor Christians at Jerusalem.  In fact it was their duty, as the duty of all saints, to come to the aid of afflicted Christians everywhere.   (Verse 27).   


        “When I have performed this,” When I have taken this contribution to the poor saints in Jerusalem.  “Sealed to them this fruit,” delivered to them this fruit of Christian love.  Paul expected only a short interval in Jerusalem and then the journey to Spain and the anticipated visit with the church at Rome.   (Verse 28).   


        The high regard with which the apostle held the Church of Rome is expressed in this verse.  Also, the full confidence that God’s blessings rested upon the intended visit is expressed.   (Verse 29).   


        That Paul had a premonition of danger ahead is expressed in his request for the prayers of the saints at Rome, and the type of prayer requested.  It takes a high brand of courage to know of impending dangers and yet face them.  This the apostle did.  With all his power as an apostle he felt the need of concerted prayer efforts “striving together.”  We need to re-learn this lesson.  Paul expected this trouble to come from unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem.  He was right in this conclusion.  He also anticipated that the Jerusalem saints might reject the offering from Gentile Christians.  This would have been the natural course for them to pursue, to despise any help from a heathen source.  But the offering was accepted, showing that the Jews were reconciled to the fact of God’s acceptance of the Gentiles.  The mutual refreshment of Paul and the Roman Church is suggested in chapter 1:11.   (Verses 30-33).    



By Geo B. Curtis


Gospel Light Publishing Company



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