“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” (Romans 1:8-10).
For a second time in this epistle, the apostle Paul provides his readers with a glimpse of his soul. In these three verses, he blazes on the canvas of Scripture the following elements in a portrait of his innermost being. In the beginning of this passage, we find Gratitude and Sincerity (See yesterday’s post). To these can be added:
Love. A clear evidence of great love for another is to pray without ceasing on their behalf. It is what a disciple of Jesus does for his persecutors (Matthew 5:44); it is what he does for his brethren in the faith (James 5:16). When making intercession for others, Paul always made mention of his beloved brethren in Rome. What a heart of care, concern, and compassion!
Trust. As a bondservant of a loving Lord, Paul energetically trusted God’s providence. Though he had desired to go to Rome for some time, the ways and means of God’s special providence had not yet set forth an open door for such. Because this man of faith submitted his desires to the will of his master, he knew that if he finally arrived in Rome, it would be according to the will of God.
The way God provided was most unique: Paul was falsely accused and arrested in Jerusalem by the Romans, moved to Caesarea for a trial, appealed to Caesar as a Roman citizen, and shipwrecked in the Mediterranean before he finally came to Puteoli, Italy and then traveled to Rome (Acts 21:26-28:15). Yet, God provided a way for him to come to them. His request was in fact granted, just as Paul believed it would be if it was God’s will.
Gratitude. Sincerity. Love. Trust are all prominent characteristics of Paul’s second self-portrait in Romans.