Sermon 2320. The Beloved Pastor's Plea for Unity
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, AUGUST 6, 1893.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JULY 7, 1889.
"To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord JesusChrist." Romans 1:7.
IN a few minutes we shall gather together as members of the Church of Christ to celebrate the memorial of His death. It isa memorable sight to see so many Christian people sitting together with the objective of observing this ordinance. Frequently,as I have seen it, I must confess that when sitting in the chair at the head of the table, I often feel overawed with theremembrance that it is the largest gathering of Christians anywhere beneath the sun, and that they have come there with onecommon objective, namely, to show our Lord's death "till He comes." The question then rises in our minds whether there isreal fellowship in all this, for if there is not, it is a great sham, and the more numerous we are, if we have not fellowshipwith Christ and with one another, the greater is the deception-it is only having a name to live while we are dead. So I want,tonight, not so much to preach to you as to exhort you, who are about to gather to this holy festival, to think that yourthoughts shall go out toward all your Christian Brothers and Sisters, and that you shall feel the power of that precious bloodwhich makes us nearer akin than even the blood of Adam-that blood of Jesus which makes us truly Brothers and Sisters, yes,members of one body, and so united by living communion, the one to the other.
In this first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, you see the spirit of communion in the Apostle Paul. He was, he says,anxious to do good to others. He longed to see the Roman Christians in order that he might impart to them some spiritual gift.While he is writing to them you can see that he is anxious that they may have the best things that they can have. All hisdesire is for their good-he is lovingly interested in their welfare. That is how we ought to be, the one to the other, notonly the pastor to the people, but the people to the pastor, and the members of the Church to each other, all anxious forthe good of the rest-no man living unto himself, but each one endeavoring to live for the benefit of the entire communityin Christ Jesus.
Not only did the Apostle's heart go out to the church in Rome, but to all the Gentiles. He felt himself, he says, a debtorto everybody, to the Greeks and to the barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, to, the bond and to the free. Do you notthink that our loving sympathies should go out towards all mankind? Oh, let them do so! While you have the nearest and closestfellowship with the saints, yet desire to recognize your kinship with the rest of men, praying to God that He would enlightenthem and bring them, also, within the bonds of the Covenant, that your fellowship with them might be loving, and true, anddeep.
However, the Apostle especially expresses his fellowship with the saints in Rome and, to prove that fellowship, he calls themby endearing names, by the highest titles which they could have, "beloved of God, called to be saints." And then he salutesthem with good wishes of the very sweetest, most tender kind, when he says, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father, andthe Lord Jesus Christ." While I am trying to talk on this text, will our dear Brothers and Sisters' hearts be going out, theone towards the other, with a view to the increase of real spiritual communion in this Church, and also in every branch ofthe one Church of Christ throughout the world?
First, notice, concerning these people, their favored condition-"beloved of God." Secondly, their sure proof of that favor-"called to be saints." And, thirdly, their blessedness through that favor. Paul wished them to have what he was
allowed to wish for them, for it was truly theirs-"Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus
I. First, then, notice concerning these people, THEIR FAVORED CONDITION. They are said to be "beloved of
I wish that I could hope that this was true of everybody here in the fullest and most emphatic sense, that we were all "belovedof God." There is a sense in which it is true, for God has a love of benevolence, kindness and well-wishing towards all Hiscreatures. He is kind to the unthankful and the evil, and makes His rain to fall upon the field of the miser as well as onthe ground of the gracious. He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." God is willingthat all should come to Him, repent of sin, believe in Jesus Christ and find eternal life! We are all, in some respects, partakersof the love of God.
But, dear Friends, there is a love to Peter which is greater than the love which Christ had to Judas. There is a love whichHe has to His own which is of peculiar character and differs very greatly from that common love which He bestows upon allthe works of His hands, for there is a love of choice and it is in this sense that Paul calls these Roman saints "belovedof God." God had chosen them-His prescient eyes had foreseen them and their condition-and He had selected them out of themass of the Roman population that they might be His own. Whatever may be said about the Doctrine of Election, it is writtenin the Word of God as with an iron pen and there is no getting rid of it! There it stands. To me, it is one of the sweetestand most blessed Truths in the whole of Revelation-and those who are afraid of it are so because they do not understand it.If they could but know that the Lord had chosen them, it would make their hearts dance for joy! The Lord has a people in thisworld whom He has, Himself, chosen and given to His Son, Jesus Christ, and whom the Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed from amongmen, for Christ, "loved the Church and gave Himself for it." These are the people of whom Paul speaks as beloved of God, thosewho have been, by Divine Grace, chosen out of the great mass of mankind!
Beware, I pray you, of that desperately evil thing which is everywhere now-"the Christian world." There is no mixture thatcan be so bad as that! If it is the world, it is the world-if it is Christian, it is not the world-and the two things cannotbe bound together! There is a divorce proclaimed between the two. Our Lord Jesus proclaimed it when He said, "They are notof the world, even as I am not of the world." And He was never of the world! Nobody ever thought that He was of the worldand so His followers, if they are true to Him, are not of the world. They are of another race. As the Apostle John says, "Youknow that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the Wicked One." It is not, as someone said the other day, "a redeemedworld"-it is a world that lies in the Wicked One, as a child lies in its father's arms! There is a redeemed people in it,whom Christ is calling out by His own wondrous and Sovereign Grace, but we are not to look upon them as tasting of the benefitsof His redemption in any saving way until He calls them to faith in Himself and brings them to be washed in His precious blood!Then may they, indeed, be called, "beloved of God."
These are, again, beloved with a love of resolve. He determined concerning those whom He loved that they should be saved,that they should repent, that they should accept the great Sacrifice. He ordained them unto eternal life and He resolved soto work upon them that, while He did not violate the freedom of their wills, or treat them otherwise than as men, yet stillHe would accomplish His purpose with them, He would create in them a new heart and a right spirit! He would turn them fromdarkness to light and from the power of Satan to Himself. These are the beloved of the Lord.
And in consequence they came to be the beloved of God in another sense, namely, with a love of complacency. The Lord cannotlove a wicked man with the love of complacency. He takes no delight in him-He cannot even look on him without abhorrence,for he provokes the Lord to anger by his iniquity. But there are men and women in the world in whom the Holy Spirit has workedprinciples which delight God. He has given them a character which is pleasing to Him. They are His Hephzibahs-His delightis in them. There are some of whom He thinks with pleasure, though they were once sinful and vile as others. He has transformedthem into new creatures in Christ Jesus and now He delights in them. I do not know a more joyful thought than for a man tobe led to believe that God takes complacency in Him and looks at him with the eyes of loving approval. Such as he are thebeloved of the Lord!
And because of this, dear Friends, there was also a love of unity. God joins Himself to the man in whom He takes delight.There is a friendship between them more close than that between David and Jonathan, so that God speaks with His servant andhears what His servant has to say in reply. There are men who are on such intimate terms with God that they
might be called the friends of God, as Abraham was-and God is both their shield and their exceedingly great reward. Oh, didsome of you know what a joy it is to be the beloved of the Lord, you would reckon yourselves to be wretched, miserable, poor,blind and naked while you are without Him! And you would reckon that even if you were poor, blind and naked, yet you wouldnot be wretched and miserable if you did but know this wondrous love of God which leads to the friendship of God and to fellowshipwith God! There are many men and women, nowadays, thank God, who have a place where they are accustomed to meet with God quiteas regularly as they meet with their fellow tradesmen at their stall or at their office. They meet with God and it would bea doleful day to them if, on any occasion, they should go to wait upon God and find that He had closed the door against them!Yes, we have in London and all over the world, a multitude who may truly be called the beloved of the Lord!
This is a very choice privilege. If you possess it, prize it beyond everything else! This is a crowning honor. Perhaps ifyou were invited to attend the Queen, you might think something of it, but what would that be compared with being belovedof God? To have the love of our follow men is very sweet-there are times when it comes with peculiar pleasantness-but oh,believe me, all the loves of all relationships, all the loves of all friendships heaped together can never be compared withthe love of God to us! All the goodness that there is in human love is derived from the love of God and is, at best, but asa drop compared with the boundless ocean! If you are beloved of God, I will not stay to ask whether you are rich or poor,or even whether you are in good health or in sickness! Neither will I enquire whether you are in honor or in disrepute, orwhether your life is likely to be long or to be suddenly cut short. All these things are but trifles! This is the solid factthat makes you a happy and a blessed man, that you can be called, "beloved of God."
Now the sweet thing, here, is that if I am beloved of God, and you are beloved of God, here is a ground for us to meet. Ifyou have not yet learned to know your Brother, if he is a stranger to you and if, because of this, no love has actually sprungup in your heart, yet, since Christ loves you-when you hear that Christ loves him-why, you will seem at once knit to him!I remember, when I first came to London, I used to think a great deal of everybody who came up from Waterbeach. I believethat if a dog had come up from Waterbeach, I should have fed him and I think that if anybody comes from where Christ is-theChrist who loves us-we shall be sure to love him! They who are beloved of God will love all others who are beloved of God!"But they are American friends." Never mind whether they are American or Dutch-if the Lord loves them, we love them!
"Oh, but they live so many thousands of miles away and they never come here." Never mind-what if seas and mountains divideus-yet are we one and He who loves us loves them, also! I am sure that I appeal to you with no doubt as to what your answerwill be. If God has put us within the same circle of His infinite affection, may we not safely clasp hands feeling that weshall never have to unclasp them, no, not even in death? The relationship between a husband and a wife, between a mother andher son may be snapped entirely by death, never to be renewed. If there is no Divine Grace in the heart of the husband orthe child, the weeping and the wailing will be useless! They are parted, never to meet again! Think of that, you who are stillunsaved. But if we are one in Christ's love, we may have to bid, "Good-bye," to one another here on earth for a time, butit is only for a time! Those bands, of which the love of God is the raw material, are everlasting!
Some of you, tonight, when I break the bread, will have to go upstairs or go home. I very often meet with good men who cometo join the Church and who say, "Nothing decided me till I had to leave my wife behind me, or when I stayed in the top galleryand looked down upon her and felt that I could not come and eat with her the memorial of the Lord's death. Then I felt thatI could not hold out any longer." Oh, may you have that union in the love of God which never will be broken! Seek it tonight!May we all, in these two galleries and this great area, be encompassed within the circle of the "beloved of God"!
II. Now, my second head is, THEIR SURE PROOF OF THAT FAVOR, for they were "called to be saints"-
"beloved of God, called to be saints."
What were these people to whom Paul wrote? First, they were saints. You notice that the words, "to be," are put in by thetranslators, but though they are supplied, they are not really necessary to the sense. These Believers in Rome were "calledsaints." They were not called because they were saints, but they became saints through that calling. Now, here is a name thatbelongs to all the people of God-they are saints. It is not merely, "St. John," and, "St. James," and so on, as some foolishpeople talk, who cannot call Matthew, Mark, Luke and John by their right names, but must always "Saint"
them! I believe that there is a St. John-I dare say that there are 20 St. Johns in this Tabernacle tonight! I believe in St.Matthew-I expect that there are two or three St. Matthews here tonight! All the people of God-all who are really believersin the Lord Jesus Christ, are saints! They are, all of them, called saints and we may call them so.
Is not that very wonderful, that these Romans should be called saints-for once they were not saints! The Romans were amongthe worst of mankind. This first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is one of the most awful that ever fell from a humanpen. It so describes the infamous crimes of the Gentiles that we might almost blush to read it in the presence of a congregation-andsuch were some of these people-but Divine Grace came and renewed them! And they were called saints and really were saints,that is, dedicated persons. A saint is a person who is set apart unto God, consecrated to God, sanctified, separated-a manwho is in the world, but not of it-he belongs to God and he lives for God.
Now, if God loves you in the sense in which we have been speaking, He has made a saint of you, a dedicated man. You rememberthat Jonah was asked, "What is your occupation and of what people are you?" and he answered, "I am an Hebrew and I fear theLord." That was his occupation-he was a God-fearing man. It is not every man who could give such an answer as that. When wefeel that our very occupation is to serve God, then are we rightly "called saints," sanctified, set apart ones.
But the word "saints" really means, also, holy persons. If we are the beloved of the Lord, He will make us holy persons. Thereis a very wide difference between that and being merely moral. Here is a man who calls himself a saint and he is not honest-donot call him a saint-he is not even a respectable sinner. Here is a man who says he is a child of God and yet he is guiltyof lewdness. Call him a saint when even common morality is absent? Dear Friends, all the charity we can possibly pump up willnot allow us to call that man a holy man who is not even a moral man! What is holiness, then? It rises above morality as muchas the Heaven rises above the earth! Holiness is a more spiritual, a more intense, a more Divine, a more heavenly thing thanmorality-and he who has not morality certainly falls very short of anything like holiness! We are called not merely to bemoralists, but to be saints!
If you go, tomorrow, into some place of amusement where there is something not quite clean, something full of levity, I shouldlike somebody to whisper in your ear, "Called to be saints." Or, if tomorrow, in business, you should lose your temper andbegin to speak rather strongly, I should like something, even if it were only a parrot, to say, "Called to be saints." Andif, when you go home, you begin to be very rough to the children, unkind to the wife and not what you should be, even to theservant, I should like you to hear a voice saying," Called to be saints." It might make you blush, if you can-there are somewho cannot-but every man who professes to be a child of God should remember that this is what his calling is and he cannotprove that he is beloved of God unless he can prove his calling to saintship by being really a saint. Oh, that we had a Churchmade up all of saints! Our churches, nowadays, are very respectable communities, I do not doubt, and there is a good dealof sainthood in them, but, oh, if they were all saints, then, indeed, we should tell upon the world and tell upon the age-andthe Kingdom of our Lord would come! They were saints, then, to whom Paul wrote.
He also says that they were "called to be saints." They were not originally saints-they were "called to be saints." They werenot saints by their own native growth-they did not grow up into saints-they were "called to be saints." They were called ofChrist, Himself. Read the sixth verse-"Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ." Being called by Jesus Christ,they were called by a Voice which they recognized, a Voice to which they yielded, a Voice that spoke effectually, a Voicethat spoke transformingly-and they were called by Him to be saints. Have you ever had such a call, my dear Hearer? Sittingin your pew, tonight, can you remember when that call came to you, as real a call as when God called Abraham out of Ur ofthe Chaldees, a call from Heaven-mysterious, Divine-which nobody else could hear, but which you heard and obeyed? "Calledto be saints."
Now, then, see a ground of our communion, one with another! If I have had a call to be a saint, I should not like to talkmuch about that to some people whom I know, for they would call it fanaticism. If you have had a call to be a saint, you havebeen very much in the same state. And when you and I meet together, we are not afraid to talk about it. You understand itand I understand it-and on the ground of having had a common call, we feel ourselves at home. We are Brothers and Sistersat once because we are equally "called to be saints." You cry and you sigh for saintship and your friend cries and sighs forsaintship, too. He is conscious that he comes short of his own idea of it. He struggles, he groans. You and he have a secretbetween you-your experience is his experience and you two feel, having equally received a call
from God, and a call for the same purpose-that you should both become the same thing, namely, saints unto God! Here is groundfor fellowship.
The lambs can have no fellowship with the wolves-let them stay together and have fellowship, one with another. You who loveGod will not find much fellowship up and down these streets. In many of the houses, if you were to speak of God, they wouldridicule you. Get all the fellowship that you can, one with another. Let it be said of you, as of those of old, "Then theythat feared the Lord spoke often, one to another, and the Lord listened, and heard it, and a Book of Remembrance was writtenbefore Him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon His name." I like to think of this, that as we are one in being,the beloved of the Lord, so are we one in the outcome of it! We have all been called and we have all been called to the samehigh attainment of saintship. Paul does not say that he alluded to "the upper ten" at Rome. No, but he says, "To all thatare in Rome, beloved of God." Do not go about and pick out a few of the best Christian people and say, "I am in sympathy withthem." Ah, dear Friends, this is not like Christ! He washed His disciples' feet, but you are for looking up at their heads!
Go and begin fellowship with him by washing his dear feet. Where there is aliquid Christi, as a good man used to say, anythingof Christ, there should your love go forth. Where there is any work of Christ upon the soul of anyone, however uneducated,however poor, however rough he may be, yes, and however bad-tempered he may be, nevertheless endeavor to get to maintain andto increase fellowship with him, seeing that you and he have one calling-you are both "called to be saints."
III. Now I come to a close with the third point where I think we shall also find some ground for fellowship, THEIR BLESSEDNESSTHROUGH THE FAVOR OF GOD. This was the same with regard to all to whom Paul wrote-"To all that are in Rome, beloved of God,called saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus
First, these good people had this blessedness-they all had the same Father. Suppose that two persons were to meet here, tonight,who did not know each other, and they were to begin to talk to one another, and one said, "My father's name is So-and-So,"And the other were to look at him and say, "And where does he live?" "He lives at such a house, in such a city." "Does he?Why, do you know, that is my father?" Those two would be surprised that they did not know each other, for they evidently hadthe same father! I can see them backing a bit and looking at one another, and saying, "Do you mean to say that his name isreally John Smith?" "Yes." "And he lives at such a house?" "Yes." "What age is he? What kind of a man is he? Have you hispicture with you?" "Yes." "There, I have a good portrait of him, too, and it is the same man! He is father to us both-thenwhat are we two?" "We are brothers." And they put their arms about each other's neck and say, "What have we been doing, that,having the same father, we did not know each other?"
Now, there are many Christian people who, if they came right, would be in much the same condition. They have the same Fatherand do not know it because they do not quite agree, perhaps, upon some form of doctrine, or even upon the rite of Baptism,or something of that sort, which is of very great importance, but still, the most important thing is- Have we one Father?If we have, then let us have fellowship, one with the other! I want this to be real. When I was very young and first joinedthe church in Cambridge, I sat in a pew at the communion with a gentleman, perhaps with two or three, but none of them spoketo me. The next time I went to the communion, it was the same-nobody spoke to me. I was not anybody to be spoken to, so whenI got outside the Chapel, I said to one gentleman, "Well, dear Sir, how are you?" He said, "I am pretty well, thank you, butyou have the advantage on me." "I do not think I have, Sir. I do not know you any more than you know me, but I came to theCommunion Table to profess that I was a Brother of those who were there and I meant it-did you not mean it?" He put both hishands on me, for he was much older than I was, and he said, "What sweet simplicity! You have only acted according to truthfulness.I am glad," he added, "that you did not do it to our deacon!"
The next thing he said was, "Will you come in and have a cup of tea with me?" I said, "Thank you, Sir, I could not do that,tonight, because I am expected home at the place where I live." "Will you come in next Sunday?" "Yes." I continued to go inevery Sunday as long as I could and he remained, and does remain, a dear friend of mine to this day. Though he is very mucholder than I am, I established a friendship with him which never has been interrupted, and never will be, either in time orin eternity! Should it not be thus among all Christians?
Is the Fatherhood of God a reality among the children of God? If it is, let their brotherhood be a reality and let them showthat they are true Brothers and Sisters by their love, one to another! May the Lord make it so! The common talk of the universalfatherhood of God is a flat contradiction of the teaching of the Bible. There is certainly, in God's Word, such a Doctrineas Adoption. Does God adopt His own children, then? There is certainly a Revelation about the new birth. What are the regeneratedborn into, then? Only into the same nature as they had before? Is there anything fresh given to them which makes them to havethe Nature of the children of God? I thought, and I still think, that it was meant that, until then, they were heirs of wrath,children of disobedience, even as others, and children of the Wicked One-but by no means children of the family of the MostHigh! By Grace alone could the saints in Rome call God, "Abba, Father."
The next point in their blessedness was that they had the same Savior, for so says the text, "Grace to you and peace fromGod our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." He who died for Paul died for them. The streams of blood that flowed for the Apostle,flowed for them. For them the bloody sweat, for all of them! For them the death cry, "It is finished," for all of them and,truly, I think that being bought with the same price ought to make us feel that we are all one lump! We were all passed overto Christ by the one transaction of the paying down of His heart's blood to redeem us and we ought to feel, no, Brothers andSisters, I hope that we do feel that we are all one and we will endeavor as much as lies in us to show this in our lives.
And, more than that, they were going to the same Heaven. Beloved, the Home of God should be the great goal to which we arealways pressing forward. You see that the men of the world are coming this way in a great crowd, all in a hurry, rushing aftertheir gods-and we, what are we doing? Threading our way, as best we can, pushing our way against the stream, going in an exactlyopposite direction to the rest of mankind. Some of you cannot do this! You keep getting carried off your legs and you areswept along by the torrent. But the man of God must go against the current. He is not to be swept back-but he is always pressingforward, always seeking to make an advance, contending for every inch-and making up his mind that, come what may, he cannotgo back! That is not his way-he must go forward, always pressing on toward the City that has foundations! Christians are likea live fish that goes up the stream, always up the stream. If the fish comes down the stream and you see it floating withits white belly on the top of the water, you know that it is dead-and we can see plenty of these dead fish floating down thestream nowadays. But the live Christian is going straight up the stream, straight up, up, up! Whichever way the tide may berunning, whether it is at the ebb or at the flood, he is going straight up the stream and, God helping him, he will proceedin that way right to the end. So, Brothers and Sisters, as we are going to the same Heaven, let us have Heaven begun belowas we live in love, one towards another.
These saints, also, had the same Grace. I cannot stop to say much about it, but Paul wished for them all that they might have"Grace." If you have Grace and I have Grace, the Grace is the same in us all. It may take a different shape as to the fruitthat it produces, but Grace is one. Whether it is Grace in the babe in Christ, or Grace in the strong man in Christ, it isthe same Grace. And if we all are debtors to Grace and if Grace begins, and Grace carries on, and Grace completes its workin us all, let us, by the bonds of that Grace, be knit together in mutual affection, the one towards the other.
And then they all had the same peace. Oh, what a blessed thing is peace with God, peace with our own conscience, peace withthe past, peace with the present, peace with the future-the peace of God which passes all understanding! Have you peace, Brothersand Sisters, and have I peace? Then let us be as one, for we have the same peace! You must have noticed, in times of peril,how men are driven into each other's arms. If you are on board ship and the vessel is ready to go down, his lordship willbe seen at the pumps working as hard as any sweep who may be on board! Everybody must share alike when they divide the biscuit-andeverybody must take his turn at working in the saving of the ship. Well, well, if it is so in time of danger, let it be soin time of peace! Let us have an equally hearty communion and fellowship, the one with the other, in happy times and undersad circumstances as well.
And so have I tried to prepare you to come to this feast. If any of you have any ill-will towards the others, have done withit! If there are any bickering and jealousies among you, wring the necks of those evil birds and have done with them-put themto a speedy death! Now, surely, is the time, when we come to the common Table of the Lord's one family, to feel that one heartis in us all and that by Him who loved us all and through Him whom we all love, we will love each other! God grant it! I amnot aware that there is any special reason, now, why I should urge you to this unity more
than at any other time, but there is always a reason for it. There is never a company of men and women, so large as ours,but what they have little jealousies between them. And you may be quite sure that these are displeasing to God and shouldbe put away as speedily as possible. So let it be and thus may we keep the feast in union with Christ and with one another,for our Savior's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON. ROMANS11-17
Verse 1. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, Paul has many titlesand he delights to mention them in writing to these Christians at Rome. He puts, first, his highest title-"A servant of JesusChrist." He glories in being a servant of the Crucified Christ, a servant of Him who was despised and rejected of men! Sodo we. Paul was called out from among men, effectually "called" of God, "to be an Apostle, separated"-set apart-"unto theGospel of God." He believed that he was separated for that purpose at his birth, but he was specially "separated unto theGospel of God" on the road to Damascus. It is a happy thing when a minister feels that he has nothing to do with anythingelse but the Gospel-that commands all his thoughts, all his talents, all his time.
2. (Which He had promised afore by His Prophets in the Holy Scriptures). All the Gospel is in the Old Testament as well asin the New, for the Gospel which Paul was called to preach was promised afore by the Prophets in the Holy Scriptures.
3, 4. Concerning His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declaredto be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. He is as much theSon of God as he was the Son of Man. The Humanity is as true as the Divinity, the Divinity as true as the Humanity.
5. By whom we have received Grace and Apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name. Paul felt thathe was sent to preach among all the Gentiles. He had a large bishopric-James might keep to the Jews, but Paul's diocese includedevery land-he was to preach "among all nations."
6, 7. Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ: to all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Graceto you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel is good news and the man who has to preach itis full of good wishes! He wishes the best possible things to everybody with whom he comes in contact-"Grace to you and peacefrom God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."
8. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Oh, Iwould it were so with us, that we had faith that could be spoken of throughout the whole world! I am afraid that some havenone to speak of-these saints in Rome had such faith that the noise went abroad everywhere, and all people wondered at them.
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 youalways in my prayers. No wonder that they prospered so well when Paul always made mention of them in his prayers! Some Churcheswould prosper better if some of you remembered them more in prayer. Of course, you all pray for the Church of which you aremembers, but could you not set aside in your heart a little space for some poor Church that is dwindling down to nothing?Could you not pray it up again? Who knows what blessing would come upon pastor and people if you bore them on your hearts?
10. Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. Paulprayed about that matter and we may pray about our journeys. I like to hear the old-fashioned expression, "Be pleased, O Lord,to grant travel mercies," for there are such things, and when the servants of God are going about, with a view to spread theGospel, we ought to pray that they may travel in safety.
11. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established. He wanted togo to Rome because he felt that he would take something with him. He was a poor man, so he could not take any gifts of goldor silver, but he was a chosen man and so he believed that he could impart unto them some spiritual gift. Oh, what a largessdoes a man of God distribute when his Lord is with him! I do pray, tonight, that feeble as I am, and unqualified as I am tobless you, yet even this night all of you who are the people of God may get some spiritual gift. I do not know what you needbut our heavenly Father does. May every one of you get, distinctly from His right hand, some spiritual
gift to the end that you may be established, that you may get good root-hold, that you may be firmly fixed on the sure foundation!
12, 13. That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have youignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruitamong you, also, even as among other Gentiles. Rome was a sink of iniquity. It was the den of the lions, where Nero was, whowould speedily devour, like a lion, the minister of Christ. Paul needed, somehow, to get into that old city on the seven hills,and to pluck some fruit for God even from the vine that was planted there. But he was hindered.
14, 15. I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise. So, as much as is in me,I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also. I do not suppose that Paul guessed that he would be sent thereat the government's expense, but he was! The Roman Empire had to find a ship for him and a fit escort for him, too. And heentered the city as an ambassador in bonds. When our hearts are set on a thing and we pray for it, God may grant us the blessing,but it may be in a way that we never looked for! You shall go to Rome, Paul, but you shall go in chains. He had not thoughtof that plan-still, it was the best way in which he could go! I do not know how he could have preached to the Emperor exceptas a prisoner-but when he was brought before him to be tried-then he had an opportunity of speaking even to the brutal creaturewho was called the Emperor of Rome!
16, 17. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes;to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written,The just shall live by faith. That is the sum and substance of the Gospel-"The just shall live by faith." The Law is, "Hethat does these things shall live by them." But the Gospel is, "The just shall live by faith." "Therefore, being justifiedby faith, we have peace with God." The Lord give to us all that saving faith, for Christ's sake! Amen.