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Romans 1:8-15


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

I sit here having a cup of coffee and my stomach is twisting and knotting from hunger. I woke up late this morning because I couldn't get to sleep last night...thoughts of You, loving thoughts, just swirled in my mind and heart. But as I sit here Father, feeling this hunger pains, I can't help but relate that to the spiritual hunger pains that You have been fanning on my heart for quite some time. As much as I can sit here right now and feel these things literally, they are just a glimpse into the desperate need and desire that I have to be fed spiritually...through Your Word, through Your people, through my most intimate thoughts and communications with You through prayer...

 

I know that this hunger for the deeper things of God is pleasing to You, so Father I just ask, from the heart (because my heart is held in Your hands), that You would feed me, and us spiritually, causing us to grow, causing us to understanod and comprehend the Mind of Christ that we have been given as part of the gift of our Salvation. For as we understand the Mind of Christ, we in turn, begin to understand and comprehend You, as our Heavenly Father, and the more we know, the more we grow, and the more we yield to You.

 

In Your Word Father, You state:

 

11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. 1Cor 2:11-16

 

Pour out Your Spirit over each and every one of us, illuminating the journey we walk in Your Word today.

 

In Jesus Christ's Precious Name,

 

 

 

8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

 

9For 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;

 

10Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

 

11For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

 

12That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

 

13Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

 

14I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

 

15So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

 

 

In verse 1, Paul takes the time to greet and embrace his fellow Christian brothers and sisters. He looks at them through Christ's eyes and gives thanks to the Father for the evidence seen, of their faith that has quickly spread like wild fire. God sees to it that the work of His Spirit is 'published' around the world.

 

In verse 2, I found it significant that it states that "Paul serves with his spirit". Watchman Nee states that the original Greek word "serve" here means to "serve in worship". Paul considered his preaching of the gospel a worship and service to God, not only a work. I find that an interesting perspective, that even as I share this study online, that it is not just a work, but is another act, another example, another experience of worshipping God. That makes sense to me because as I walk this journey here, I'm constantly talking to the Lord, interacting with Him, questioning Him, loving Him.

 

Watchman Nee also comments on Paul's serving in his spirit. He writes, "Not the Spirit of God but Paul's regenerated spirit. The spirit is different from the heart, soul, mind, emotion, will, or natural life. Christ and the Spirit are with the believers in their regenerated human spirit. In this book Paul stressed that whatever we are, whatever we have, and whatever we do toward God must be in this spirit. Paul served God in his regenerated spirit by the indwelling Christ, the life-giving Spirit, not in his soul by the power and ability of the soul. This is the first important item in his preaching of the gospel."

 

The rvbv notes the importance here too. It states that the Scriptures constantly witness to the fact that man exists as a spirit living in a body, possessed of a soul. Paul served God in his spirit, not his soul. He didn't use props of music or gifts of great oratory...he didn't orchestrate huge meetings that aroused the emotions of the people. He relied solely on serving God in his spirit. This makes sense because in Romans 8:16 it states (Amplified Bible), The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.. His Spirit bears witness with our spirit...our link perhaps is our spirit with His Holy Spirit.

 

In verse 10, it illustrates Paul's yielding to God's will...communicating his desire and longing to visit these Roman Christians. It's sweet that his heart longed for this group of God's children, if it were within the will of God.

 

In verse 11, Paul is desiring to give them a spiritual gift, not the types of "gifts of the Spirit" talked about in 1 Cor 12, but a spiritual gift that fills a need they have in their already established faith in Christ. The rvbv talks about the great men of God (like Luther, Wesley, Moody, etc) "who, by their very presence, through the spirit of faith that God had given them, and through the annointing of the Spirit conferred upon them, have in a wondrous way banished the spirit of unbelief in great audiences; and made it eas for the saints to run rapidly in the way of the Lord; to become, as Paul says, "mutually comforted," the preacher and the saints together, each by the other's faith; with the result that saints become established, in the truth and in their walk, as they had not been before."

 

So, if Paul served in his spirit in the gospel of Christ Jesus, and if his spirit that was in communion with God's Spirit wrote these letters to the Romans, then the life of his spirit lives on in these letters. Even though Paul left this earth long ago, and is no longer able to go and visit our modern day world, his spirit continues to LIVE through these letters he wrote that are contained in the New Testament. The Spirit of God continues to bear witness in my spirit, that Paul's writings, that were written and lived in his spirit before the Father, continues to live on. I don't know if I'm explaining this well...it's like a concept that I can touch but is a little fleeting. I do know one thing. The Bible isn't just a book of words...it's living and breathing and and His Spirit bears witness to my spirit that this is true.

 

The rvbv states that the burden of Paul's heart is to make know to them (and us) the heavenly secret that they (and us) are not connected with the earthly (in their case) Jewish calling but that they (and us) are IN the Risen, Heavenly Christ...that having died to the first Adam and his responsibilities, they were in the Second Man (Christ), the Last Adam, by divine cre developed, ation and were therefore, heavenly. While this heavenly truth wasn't (and most times isn't in us), fully developed in the Romans, but this was the 'spiritual gift' that Paul longed to impart to them (and us) so that we might be established.

 

In verse 12, although Paul was undeniably the chosen and annointed man of God, that He chose to spread the Gospel of His Son, Pauls humbleness, his gentleness, his persuasiveness, his sincerity, etc., was and is, very heartwarming because it is genuine.

 

In verse 13, "Oftentimes I purposed to come to you and was hindered until the present time" is explained later in the book of Romans. Paul's heart longed to get to the Romans, but God was sending Paul to other parts first. Paul's heart was genuinely filled with love for the Body of Christ and it must have felt hard at times, wanting so passionately to be so many different places all at once, when he viewed all the needs that this new, infant Church had and still has today.

 

"That I might have some fruit in you also" I believe illustrates that passion (once again) in Paul, to shore up the children of God that they might bear good fruit, which is pleasing to the Father, born out of love.

 

Verse 14, Watchman Nee writes that the word "barbarian here, in the original Greek means a 'foreigner', a non-Greek, one who does not speak Greek. The rvbv refers to the non-Greek 'barbarians' as meaning "uncultured".

 

"wise and unwise" does not mean only educated and uneducated, but instead, all degrees of intelligence. Since Paul is 'debtor to all', he is enumerating all.

 

In the words "I am debtor", it is clear to see his 'position'...of where he operates from. This position bears the responsibility to him of being entrusted to bear the tidings of infinite importance directly from heaven, and Paul was a debtor to all classes of people. He does not specifically mention the Jews because he had been sent by God, directly to the Gentiles (us).

 

The rvbv makes a profound parallel. it states:

 

How different Paul's spirit here from that of Moses in the wilderness among murmuring Israel!

 

"And Moses said unto Jehova...Have I conceived all this people? have I brought them forth, that Thou shouldst say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father carrieth the sucking child, unto the land which Thou swarest unto their fathers?...I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if Thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favor in Thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness" (Num11:11-15)

 

We must remember that Moses, beloved faithful servant of God, walked under the LAW.(emphasis mine)

 

But Paul, gladly was a "debtor" to all, carrying the message of God's glorious and holy grace. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses" 1Cor 5:19. We see that Paul is "less than the least of all saints" Eph 3:8 and is willing to "become all things to all men to gain some!" 1 Cor 9:22

 

When Moses had received the tablets of the 10 Commandments that had been written by the Finger of God, he became a debtor to God and to Isreal to deliver them. In Paul's case, the Risen Jesus Christ Himself had given the gospel by especial "revelation", and Paul was indebted and specifically sent to the Gentiles. Moses received the Law for Israel, Paul received the gospel for us.

 

How heartbreaking it must have been for Paul when he experienced professed Christians slamming their doors in his face as he came (and comes through the Word) as a 'debtor'. In 2Tim 1:15 he talks about his experiences with that.

 

In verse 15 it is apparant one of the reasons that Paul chooses the words he did, to describe different things..."debtor", etc. I can imagine how full (and overflowing) his heart must have been with this special revelation of the gospel that Jesus imparted to him on the road to Damascus, and how DRIVEN Paul obviously was, full of intensity, purpose, focus, love, heartfelt understanding, etc, because he received this impartation and felt he had a debt to pay back to Christ and our Father.

 

The rvbv states: "Rome despised the Jews, and Paul was "little of stature," with "weak" bodily presence; and with "speech," or, as we say, "delivery," "of no account" in the proud carnal opinion of men (2 Cor 10:10). Moreover, he would be opposed by any Jews of wealth or influence in Rome. Furthermore, Rome was the center of the gentile world: its emperors were soon to demand - and receive - worship; it was crowded with men of learning and culture from the whole world; it had mighty marchings; - great triumphal processions flowed through its streets. Rome shook the world.

 

Yet here is Paul, utterly weak in himself, and with his physical thorn; yet ready, eager, to go to Rome!

 

And to preach, - what? A Christ that the Jewish nation had themselves officially rejected, a Christ who had been despised and crucified at their cries, - by a Roman governor! To preach a Way that the Jews in Rome would tell Paul was "everywhere spoken against" (Acts 28:22).

 

Talk of your brave men, your great men, Oh world! Where in all history can you find one like Paul? Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, marched with the protection of their armies to enforce their will upon men. Paul was eager to march with Christ alone to the center of this world's greatness entrenched under Satan, with "the Word of the Cross," which he himself says is "to Jews, an offence; and to Gentiles, foolishness."

 

Yes, and when he does go to Rome, it is as a shipwrecked (though Divinely delivered) prisoner. Oh, what a story! There, "for 2 whole years" in his own "hired dwelling" he received "all that go in unto him" (for he cannot go to them); and the message goes on and on throughout the Roman Empire, and even into Caesar's household!

 

And what is the secret of this unconquerable heart? Hear Paul: "ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me." "To me, to live is Christ"; "it was the good pleasure of God to reveal His Son in me"; "By the grace of God I am what I am"; "I labor, striving according to Christ's working, who worketh in me mightily";..."

 

Heavenly Father,

 

I have been seeing this morning how important it is that we be careful what we 'impart' to each other, especially within the Body of Christ. Since Paul served You in his spirit, which was in direct connection with Your Holy Spirit, guided and directed by Him; and if Paul's background was the persecution and killing of Christ's early Church (proving that at some point in his life, Paul had no compunction against standing up for, and going after what he believed in), I find it even more deeply felt that Paul's ministrations, his exhortations, his dealings, his impartations to Christ's Church, were delivered with heartwrenching devotion, love, care, concern. It is easy to tear another apart...it is far more difficult to shed our own fleshly motives, and to serve You in our spirit, which resists and cringes from such hurtful behavior.

 

With that said Father, I just ask that You would abundantly pour out Your Holy Spirit among Your children. Whatever stage we are in, in our walk with You, I pray and ask from my heart that by the power of Your Spirit, that You would cause each and every one of us to draw closer to You, conforming ourselves to the likeness of Your Son, who walked this earth among simple men, and who hung on a Cross willingly to shed His Holy Blood to wash away our sins, thus placing us in a position where we can finally, and freely, have a relationship with You...our Father, our Creator, our God.

 

Breathe on me, oh Lord.

 

Holy Spirit, do Your holy work with today's study...annoint it, perfect it, and may it be used to bring glory to our Risen Savior Jesus, Son of the One True God.

 

I love You Lord, I need You. Be with me, and us, as we go through the rest of the day. May Your Finger burn the truths of these Scriptures into our hearts, and may Your Holy Spirit continue to fan those flames until they are a roaring fire that signifies our passion and love for You. Your Word will not return void.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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