Romans 1:9- 10 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 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; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.”
“Making request” – It was Paul’s earnest desire to see them, and he presented the subject before God.
“If by any means” – This tells us he was willing to do whatever it took to be able to do the will of God. Do we have this same attitude today? – We have a perfect example to follow in this and that is Christ.
“Now at length” – He had purposed to go to Rome for a long time. The expression in the Greek implies an earnest wish that this long-cherished purpose might be accomplished.
“A prosperous journey” – Paul was praying for a safe, and pleasant journey. We should make it a practice, as Paul did to pray for safety as we travel and prosperous results as we fulfill His will.
“By the will of God” – Paul prefaced all he had said by wanting to make sure all of it was according to God’s will. This is a proper way to pray; we should all pray and make plans this way always “by the will of God”.
Paul was thankful for the Roman church and their testimony (v. 8). “spoken of throughout the whole world” – meaning the whole Roman Empire knew of the faith of the Christians at Rome. Travel was relatively common in that day and “all roads led to Rome.” It is no wonder that the testimony of the church spread abroad, and this growing witness made Paul’s ministry easier as he went from place to place and was able to point to this testimony going out from the heart of the Roman Empire.
What kind of testimony do you personally have for Christ? – Does your whole world know? Does your whole school or place of employment know of your testimony for Christ? Is it a good testimony that they know? Are we like the Roman Christians and not being ashamed of our faith and who were, so actively proclaiming it and sharing it that literally the whole world knew of them and their faith in Christ?
Does your whole world know of your faith in Christ?
Are you sharing it with others?
How is your testimony concerning Christ to others?
He prayed for them (vv. 9–10). They did not know of Paul’s prayer support, but the Lord knew about it and honored it. (I wonder how many of us know the people who are praying for us?) One of the burdens of Paul’s prayer was that God would permit him to visit Rome and minister to the churches there. He would have visited them sooner, but his missionary work had kept him busy (Romans 15:15–33). He was about to leave Corinth for Jerusalem to deliver the special offering received from the Gentile churches for the poor Jewish saints. He hoped he would be able to travel from Jerusalem to Rome, and he was hoping for a prosperous journey.
Do you pray like you should? – Do you pray for fellow Christians and others in general, like you should be doing?
Verse 8 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.”
“First, I thank my God” – The God whom I worship and serve. The expression of thanks to God for His mercy to them was given to help prepare them for the truths which he was about to communicate to them. It showed the deep interest which Paul had in their welfare; and the happiness it would give him to do them good. It is proper to give thanks to God for His mercies to others as well as ourselves. We are members of one great family, and we should make it a subject of thanksgiving to God for what He has done for us.
“Through Jesus Christ” – The duty of presenting our thanks to God, through Christ, is often referred to in the New Testament, Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” and also Hebrews 13:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
“For you all” – On account of you all, on account of the entire Roman church. This shows us that the church had a remarkably pure faith and earnest faith at this time. How few churches have there been of whom a similar commendation could be expressed.
“That your faith” – The readiness with which the Romans had embraced the gospel, the firmness with which they adhered to it, was so remarkable, that it was known and celebrated everywhere. The same thing is affirmed of them in Romans 16:19a “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men.”
“Is spoken of throughout the whole world” – Their great faith is celebrated, or known. They were in the capital of the Roman Empire; in a city remarkable for its wickedness; and in a city whose influence extended everywhere. It was natural, therefore, that their remarkable conversion to God should be celebrated everywhere.
Verse 9 “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;”
Charles Spurgeon made this comment on this verse “Little did he dream that his prayers were to be answered by his being conveyed in chains to the great city. Very mysterious are the Lord’s ways of granting our requests.”
***Are you personally surrendered and prepared for the answers to your prayers the Lord may bring your way? His ways are above our ways, God may answer your prayers but it might not be in the way you are thinking or expecting. ***
“For God is my witness” – The reason for this strong appeal to God is to show to the Romans the deep interest which Paul felt in their welfare. This interest was manifested in his prayers, and in his earnest desires to see them. A deep interest shown in this way was well-fitted to prepare them to receive what he had to say to them. Those we minister to; do we have this deep personal interest and burden for them like the Apostle Paul did?
“Whom I serve” – This expression denotes that Paul was devoted to God in this manner; that he obeyed him, and had given himself to do His will in making known His gospel. Have we done the same in our lives? Have we given ourselves over to God’s will for our life?
“With my spirit” – It is not an external service merely; it is internal, real, and authentic service to God. The Apostle Paul was really and sincerely devoted to the service of God – are we?
“In the gospel of his Son” – This means in making known the gospel, or as a minister of the gospel. Are we doing this in our own life? Are we making known the Gospel not only in our words, but in our deeds, in our testimonies, in the examples we set?
“That without ceasing” – This means constantly, always, without intermission, not only once, but repeatedly (I Thessalonians 1:2 – We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;)
“I make mention always” – I call you to remembrance, and present your case before God. This demonstrates his remarkable interest in a church which he had never seen, and it shows that Paul was a man of prayer; praying not for his friends and kindred only, but for those whom he had never seen. If with the same intensity of prayer all Christians would remember the churches and other Christians in prayer, what a tremendous affect the Christian church would soon have “throughout the whole world”!
E.M. Bounds made this comment on prayer “Pray and never faint, is the motto Christ gives us for praying. It is the test of our faith, and the severer the trial the longer the waiting, the more glorious the results!”