The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 120 of 181
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Paul now goes on to explain to the Roman believers the reason for his writing to them.
Like the Thessalonian saints (I Thess. 1: 8), those at Rome had given such a fine witness
that their faith was "spoken of throughout the whole world" (Rom. 1: 8). For this the
Apostle gave deep thanksgiving and assured them of his continued intercession for them:
"For God is my witness, Whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that
without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers . . . . ." (1: 9).
Paul's service for Christ made continual searching demands on him day and night.
Yet the great ministry of prayer for others was not neglected. Over and over again he
records the fact that he never ceased from interceding for fellow believers (Eph. 1: 15, 16;
Col. 1: 3, 9; Phil. 1: 4; I Thess. 1: 2; Philemon 4; II Tim. 1: 3).  Prayerless Christian
service is fruitless Christian service. The Bible is full of the records of those who were
outstanding men of prayer and what that constant prayer accomplished when it was based
on the will of God.
The Apostle Paul sought God's will always and he seeks to relate that will to visit
them that they may both receive benefits:
"Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by
the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart some spiritual
gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you
(or encouraged) by the mutual faith both of you and me" (1: 10-12).
It is well to note that the Apostle did not expect to be a benefactor only, but also to
receive some help from the Roman Christians himself. For some while Paul had wanted
to visit them but had been hindered from doing so (verse 13). He does not say whether
this was due to the activity of Satan or to restraint by the Lord. The old English "let"
used in the A.V. in this sense is quite archaic and survives only in the semi-legal phrase
"without let or hindrance". We know from what he tells us later on in the epistle that the
visit to Rome was part of a longer journey that he had in mind which would involve
Spain (Rom. 15: 24, 28).
His aim was for lasting spiritual results from his Roman visit:
". . . . . that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles" (1: 13),
and this again (see verses 5, 6) confirms the probability that the church at Rome was for
the most part Gentile.
Not only did the Apostle desire to make personal contact with the Roman saints but
above all he longed to preach the gospel of God's grace, and one reason that he gives for
this is that he is a debtor:
"I am a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians (this term was used of all who
were not Greeks); both to the wise, an to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready
to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also" (1: 14, 15).