8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
9For 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,
10always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.
11For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;
12that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.
13I 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.
14I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.
15So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
16For 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.
17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
This is where Paul talks about his audience and explains why he wants to meet with them. Firstly, he feels that he needs to congregate with them because he has things he wants to share. To be honest, I was taken aback by this statement at first. It seemed like he was saying, “I want to meet with you so I can do this and that” as if he is better than them. As I continued to read and question my inherently human reaction, I realized what he was saying.
Firstly, Paul knows his calling. This is why his statement is bold. He is a teacher and he wants to teach because he knows his lesson is impeccable, through the Grace of God. This is a boldness I one day hope to achieve. Not to boast in my own abilities, but to be confident in my God’s abilities through me. (cue the song “I will boast in the Lord my God”). I digress…
Secondly, we come across verse 12. By giving his gift of the knowledge of Christ through teaching, Paul will be open to receive whatever gifts God has for him through the Romans. This is seen in verse 15.
He points out in the subsequent verses that he doesn’t want to just impart his knowledge, but that he is interested in learning from them as well. The point here is the edification we receive just be being amongst each other. Regardless of your position in the church, everyone can learn from everyone. This is why we should look forward to spending time with our brothers and sisters. A reoccurring theme in the new testament is everyone having a separate purpose as the Body of Christ. We speak of arms and legs and eyes and ears having their own purpose, but can’t your hand put a bandaid on your leg? Can your ears warn your ears of what is to come so your hands can protect them? We must work together to better each other. Not by anything special or out of the ordinary, but by being who God designed us to be.
I love how Paul sums it up by recalling a point from the older scriptures (from Hab. 2:4). “the righteous man shall live by faith.” That’s a great transition to his next point…