Romans 1:8-15 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 some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established ---that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. NKJV
The History of the Roman Empire is a long and sorted tail laced with Emperors who (as mere men) would raise themselves to god status. Some of Rome’s Emperors tolerated Christians while others despised them to such a point of killing them in very brutal and violent ways. Most of Rome’s Emperors were worshipers of many Pagan gods and they would make decrees that all the citizens of Rome would be required to worship these false deities. Epicureanism and Stoicism thrived also in Rome as religions for the Agnostic intellectuals. Epicureanism is a philosophy advanced by Epicurus that considered happiness, or the avoidance of pain and emotional disturbance, to be the highest good and that advocated the pursuit of pleasures that can be enjoyed in moderation. It is a devotion or adaptation to luxurious tastes, especially in drinking and eating, or to indulgence in sensual pleasures. Stoicism is the school of philosophy founded by Zeno (of Citium), who asserted that men should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity. It is an indifference to pleasure or pain.
This was just a taste of what dominated the hearts and minds of sinful men and women in Rome and those living under Roman rule and authority. This is what the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was up against in this huge and powerful city estimated to have a population of 1.5 million people during the first century. However, Paul was not deterred by such evil because he knew the exceeding great power in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and how it had power to break the hard sinful hearts of all men and women no matter what. It is clear that Paul did not establish the group of believers in the city of Rome and this is one of the reasons for his heart so yearning to get to them. Paul had heard from many reliable sources of brothers and sisters in Christ and no doubt non-believers of the great faith exemplified by those in Rome who had turned from all of the false gods and intellectual philosophies to Christ Jesus our Lord. The transformed lives of these Roman citizens bore great witness and testimony to the authenticity of their faith in Christ somewhat like those in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 1:9).
Paul being the great prayer warrior that he was wanted them to know how much he prayed every single day for them as he did for all believers (Philippians 1:4 & Philemon 1:4 & 1 Thessalonians 1:2). Paul had many encounters with the enemy and knew of his tactics and always wanted to do all he could when present or absent from true brothers and sisters in the faith to keep them and himself alert always to the enemies devices used to come against the believer. Paul had been many times in the presence of false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26), and like the Apostle John had great joy when he knew that others were walking in the truth of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wanted to be comforted himself by the great faith of these Roman believers and by the will of God alone he wanted our Lord to grant him the ability and means to be able to get to them (Acts 19:21). Paul was a man always desiring to be conscience and sensitive to the will of God in every matter and so only wanted to come to them in person if God the Father so willed him to do so.
Paul being legally a Roman citizen himself (Acts 22:27) knew that the Christians in Rome with their high code of ethics and morals were anomalies to the Roman rulers and the other non- Christian citizens. Paul knowing this and knowing the gifts bestowed to him by our Lord Jesus Christ wanted with all of his heart to get to them to impart some spiritual gift to them in order that they would be strengthened in their daily walk with our Lord enabling them to withstand all of the fiery darts that were surely being aimed at them every day (Acts 23:11). Paul knew that the inevitable clash between these Roman Christians and the non-Christian Roman majority would be a clash between monotheism (Christianity) and Polytheism (all other false worship) and also between the Roman Christians desire to walk in moral and sexual purity which is pleasing to our Lord Jesus Christ and the Pagan practices of the Epicureans and others who freely indulged the flesh to heights far from that of the will of God. Paul wanted to preach the gospel there in Rome that others might come to the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“The prayer of Paul that he might see the Romans was granted, but in a remarkable way. He was persecuted by the Jews, and arraigned before King Agrippa. He appealed to the Roman emperor, and was taken there in chains as a prisoner. Yet the journey might in this way have a more deep effect on the Romans, than if he had gone in any other way. In so mysterious a manner does God often hear the prayers of his people; and though their prayers are answered, yet it is in His own time and way; see the last chapters of the Acts.” Albert Barnes
“God is particularly a witness to our secret prayers, the matter of them, the manner of the performance; then our Father sees in secret, Matthew 6:6. God, whom I serve with my spirit. Those that serve God with their spirits may, with a humble confidence, appeal to him; hypocrites who rest in bodily exercise cannot. His particular prayer, among many other petitions he put up for them, was that he might have an opportunity of paying them a visit (Romans 1:10): Making request, if by any means, etc. Whatever comfort we desire to find in any creature, we must have recourse to God for it by prayer; for our times are in His hand, and all our ways at his disposal.” Matthew Henry
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…