Sermon 2768. Debtors and Debtors

(No. 2768)




"There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty." Luke 7:41.

I TRUST that the Lord has "somewhat to say" upon this subject to some who are like Simon the Pharisee. And if He has, I trustthat those persons will be led by the Grace of God to say, as Simon did, "Master, say on." Be ready to hear what the LordJesus Christ will speak to you! There are some who cover up the windows of their hearts with the shutters of prejudice-theyare only prepared to hear what will please them-they cannot endure to listen to that which will grieve them and humble them.How many there are who want the preacher to prophesy smooth things! If he will say what they can agree with, they will goaway and sing his praises, which is a poor result in any case. But let us be of a nobler sort than that! Let us be like theBereans, who, after they had heard Paul and Silas preach, "received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched theScriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed." Let us say, as Eli bade young Samuel do,"Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears." Let us say to Him, "Even if You speak that which will lay me in the dust, I will hearit. If You say that which will condemn me to Hell, I will give heed to it, for it is best for me to know the Truth of God,that, by knowing it, I may be stirred up to flee from the wrath to come. Let me know the worst of my case, O Lord God of Truth!'Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead mein the way everlasting.'"

So far, I think, Simon the Pharisee may be an example to us. The Master said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you."And his answer was, "Master, say on."

I am not going to expound the whole parable at this time. We may, perhaps, go on with it on another occasion. I intend nowto take only this one verse-"There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and theother fifty." There are two lessons for us to learn from this text. The first is that all sinners are debtors to God. Andthe second is that some sinners are greater debtors to God than others are-"The one owed five hundred pence, and the otherfifty."

I. First, ALL MEN ARE DEBTORS TO GOD. He is that "certain Creditor" mentioned in our text, of whom, I fear, many debtors thinkvery little.

We are all indebted to God, first, in the matter of obedience to Him, as His creatures. He is our Creator, our Preserver,our Provider, our Benefactor. "It is He that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture."He is "the living God" who gives us richly all things to enjoy." We owe to Him our continued existence. Every breath of ournostrils is His gift. Therefore, by our very creation, we are bound to serve Him according to the righteous demands of Hisholy Law, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve." And that other "first and great commandment"-"Youshall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." This Law is not exacting.It does not go a hair's breadth beyond the righteous claims of Divine Justice.

But, as we have not rendered to God the obedience which is due Him, we have become further indebted because of the penaltyincurred by us as sinners. All the Ten Commandments stand up in the court as witnesses against us, for we have broken themall. We have been guilty of sins of omission altogether innumerable-and of sins of commission more than

the hair of our head. We are under obligation to obey God's command even though we are unable to obey it. Though we have notthe power to keep God's Law perfectly, that inability by no means removes from us the liability to do so. If a man is in debtand cannot pay, the fact that he is unable to pay does not exonerate him from the duty of paying. He is still in debt. Debtsare not discharged by pleading that you cannot pay them-that is no valid excuse and we are, all of us, bound to obey God perfectly,notwithstanding all that has happened in the past. What a debt, then, we must owe Him- a debt that is increasing every day-adebt that is already past all reckoning-a debt that will go on swelling as long as we live unless it can be removed by somepower higher than our own!

That debt of penalty involves tremendous results to the body and the soul of man. "Fear not them which kill the body," saidChrist, "but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell." Youknow that among all the terrible words spoken concerning the penalty of sin, the most terrible are those which were utteredby our Lord Jesus Christ, the most loving and tender of all teachers. Measure not a man's true tenderness of heart by hisavoidance of the subject of "the wrath to come." It may be only tenderness to him, or a willingness to pander to the evildesires of sinful men that prompts him to such action as that. But the Christ who weeps over Jerusalem does not hesitate topredict its dreadful doom! And He who loved men so much as to lay down His life for them was the one who spoke again and againof the place "where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched." Many such words fell from those loving lips that neverwould have invented an unnecessary terror, so we may be sure that the penalty of sin is a very terrible one.

Every one of us who is out of Christ is under the death penalty-"He that believes not is condemned already, because he hasnot believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." "The soul that sins, it shall die." And what that death involves,what that existence must be which is but life in the midst of death-the life of an immortal being that is stripped of allpossibility of well-being forever-I will not attempt to describe. But that is the penalty of sin and that is due to God, towhom we are debtors, indeed.

And, my dear Friends, it gives me great joy to add that if we are pardoned sinners, we owe to God a deep debt of gratitude!If, through the blessed processes of Grace, through the atoning Sacrifice and mediation of our Divine Redeemer, we are deliveredfrom the debt of sin and the handwriting that was against us is taken away and nailed to His Cross. If, through the deathof Christ, we are delivered from the death penalty of sin-as we certainly are, for Christ has forever cleared all Believersby bearing their punishment in His body on the tree, then are we debtors to the Infinite Love and boundless compassion ofour Covenant-keeping God, His well-beloved Son and the ever-blessed Spirit! In this debt let us be continually willing tosink deeper and deeper. I would that, in this respect, my own soul were like a boat that had foundered at sea-and the seashould be the Love of God-and I would go down into it over the masthead till I was completely submerged in the abyss of InfiniteLove. And, in truth, that is just where we are if we are in Christ Jesus! And each one of us, slightly altering the poet'swords, can say-

"Olove! You bottomless abyss! My soul is swallowed up in you."

Which of us can ever fully tell what we owe to God for our election, our redemption, our effectual calling, our justification,our sanctification and our promised glorification? Who can tell how much we owe for being preserved from sin, for being restoredafter we have fallen into sin and for being enabled by Grace to rise above sin? Who can tell how great is our debt for allthe blessings laid up in store for us which we shall enjoy, by-and-by, but which are just as surely ours before we receivethem-that Grace we have not tasted yet, and that Glory which we have scarcely dreamt of yet-that infinite happiness whichis hidden in the closed hand of God until the day shall come when He shall manifest it to our wondering eyes? "Therefore,brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh"-but debtors to the Covenant Love of God and, therefore,debtors to our fellow men, realizing our obligation to show to them, according to our ability, the great Love of God and totestify to them concerning the way of eternal life.

So, you see, in some form or other, we are all debtors. I am not about to speak of that last kind of debt, now, for it isnot included in our Savior's parable. But I want to speak of the debt of obedience which has not been rendered and the debtof penalty which has been incurred in consequence of our disobedience. I intend, as God shall help me, to say something aboutdebtors. And if, in the use of the illustration, I should seem to utter hard words about people who are in

debt, I am not meaning to do that and I hope they will not take it so. I am simply intending to use the illustration. If ithappens to hit anybody, I cannot help that. If the cap fits anyone, let him wear it.

Now, first, a sinner is very much like a debtor in this respect-he is very apt to get more deeply into debt. If you owe apound today, there is a great tendency to owe two pounds tomorrow. Getting into debt is a slippery process and when your feetbegin to slide, you are very apt to go deeper and deeper into the mire. And I am sure that this is the case with the Lord'stwo debtors-with the Lord's unnumbered millions of debtors-with all the Lord's debtors! People say, "Money makes money," andI suppose it does, but, certainly, sin makes sin. There is a cumulative force in evil so that a sinner finds that it getseasier to sin, instead of becoming more difficult. While the man grows old, his sin does not- rather, it seems to grow youngerand to become more vigorous! Often times a sinner will become more adept in guilt and more inclined to evil, the further headvances in years. Certain sins may decline through the weakening of the flesh, but the sins of the heart do not. The powerto sin may grow less, but the will to sin continues to increase as the sinner grows older. This is one of the terrible thingsabout iniquity-that it breeds so fast. A man can never say to sin, "You may only come this far, but no further-and here shallyour proud waves be stayed." When the great flood tide of evil comes rolling in, there is no telling where it will stop! Asdebt leads to more debt, so sin leads to more sin and, therefore, it is that there is a parallel between the sinner and thedebtor.

Further, sin, like debt, causes uneasiness in a man if there is a spark of honesty about him. Some men, who have no senseof honor, are quite happy while in debt. You may have read of a sale that was to be held in Rome, on one occasion, when therewere to be sold the goods of a man who had been for many years greatly embarrassed by debt. The emperor said to one of hischamberlains, "Go to the sale and buy that man's bed, for I cannot sleep at night and, surely, I should be able to sleep onhis bed if he, being in debt, has been able to sleep so comfortably as I hear he has." Debtors ought not to have good sleepif they have wantonly plunged themselves into debt. Honest men are troubled, vexed, perturbed if they feel that they cannotmeet their obligations. Now, when a sinner is thoroughly awakened to his true position, this is just his case. He says, "Iam in debt to God and I cannot pay even a farthing in the pound. If He comes to call me to account and asks me, 'How muchdo you owe unto your Lord?' what can I answer Him? I am full of confusion and full of fear." Thus, you see, a sinner is likea debtor because he has no rest.

And further, debtors and sinners shun their creditors-they do not want to meet them-they try to get out of their way. Someof us know what it is to have cleared ourselves of rather troublesome friends by lending them money. We have never seen themsince, so we reckon that perhaps it was a good investment. A man who is in debt does not want to see the person to whom heowes money. He would rather go down another street than meet him. If there is a knock at the door and the person who wantsto come in is one who has called for a debt which the debtor cannot discharge, he would sooner jump out of the back windowand make his escape, than he would meet him. And this is precisely the case with the sinner. He is in debt to God and he doesnot like to meet his great Creditor. He will not regard the call of the church bell and he will not keep holy the Sabbath.He would rather forget about all such things. To read his Bible, to attend a service where he shall be reminded of his obligationsis most objectionable to him. He does not want to be reminded of them. If there should come one, in the dead of night, andcry in his chamber, "Prepare to meet your God!" it would be more terrifying to him than an earthquake or the most terrificthunderstorm. He does not want to meet his God! He says in his heart, if not in so many words, "No God! No God for me! I donot want a God!" And if it could be satisfactorily proved to him that God was dead, it would be one of the most joyful piecesof news that he had ever heard. He is so deeply in debt to God that he cries, "Where shall I flee from His Presence?" He wouldtake the wings of the morning, if he could, and fly to the uttermost parts of the earth if he thought that he could find somelonely spot where he would not be troubled by the fear of the Presence of God. That is every sinner's condition. That is thecondition of every unconverted person here! That was once my condition and the condition of everyone who is now a child ofGod.

The sinner, too, like the debtor, is in great danger. I do not know what the laws of England are, just now, concerning debt.Putting them into very simple English, I think they mean that nobody needs pay anybody unless he likes-and we have plentyof people who are getting rich by paying nobody at all. When they fail altogether, they break, and so make themselves. ButI shall talk of the laws of England as they used to be. When a man was in debt in the olden times, he was always in fear ofarrest. He could not tell when the sheriff's officer would lay his hand upon him. That is just your case if you are an unforgiven,unpardoned sinner. You cannot tell when God will arrest you, but it is certain that, sooner

or later-and even the later will not be long-you will have to stand before His Judgment Seat and answer at the bar of inflexibleJustice for all your sins against Him. I would not like to have been a debtor who, wherever he went, was likely to be arrested.I have heard of one who was so often in debt and so frequently in prison in consequence, but who so regularly ran into debtafter he was let out of jail that, on one occasion, when his coat-sleeve caught on an area railing, he supposed it was thetouch of the sheriffs officer and, thinking that he was again arrested, he exclaimed, "At whose suit?" It was only an ironbar that held him, but he imagined that one of his many creditors had claimed him. That must be a wretched kind of life foranyone to live-to be always afraid of arrest!

You smile at the idea, but if you were really in that condition, I do not suppose that you would smile then. And if you realizedthat at any moment you might be arrested by the cold hand of death, smiles would be far enough from your countenance! A manmay be sitting in one of these pews and, before the clock ticks again, he may be in the world of spirits before his God! Iam often hearing of persons, whom I have lately met apparently in robust health, who have been suddenly called away. Theyare gone, but we are still spared. In thought, I saw a procession passing before me. At first I imagined that it was fleshand blood marching down the street, but, as the procession passed me, I discovered that all who composed it were but shadows.I, who was looking on, am also a shadow and I, too, shall pass away. O debtor to a righteous God, this thought should causedisquietude within your careless spirit-that, at any moment, you may be arrested at the suit of your great Creditor!

And then, mark you, according to the Law of God, when arrested by death, you are cast into prison. You remember how our Saviorput it-"Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver you tothe judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. Verily I say unto you, You shall by no meanscome out from there till you have paid the uttermost farthing." Oh, what a dreadful prison that is into which souls will becast who die in debt to God! And since they can never pay even a farthing of their debt, there can be no release for them!How long shall they lie there? Till they have paid the uttermost farthing? Why, that can never be! So, mind what you doing,you who are indebted to God, lest you be cast into that dreadful dungeon! Trifle not away your time, I pray you, but fly toJesus who alone can deliver you from this weight of debt, for your danger is imminent at this very moment!

There is this about our debt to God-that it will never be forgotten by Him. I once knew a man who was much troubled by a debt,but his creditor was not, for many years had passed and he had never mentioned it. In fact, it had entirely slipped from hismemory! I do not think such a case as that often happens, but I remember that one-but it will never happen with God. Nothingwill ever slip from His memory! Sin is irrevocable and eternal. There is one process that can blot it out, or cast it intothe depths of the sea and make it cease to be-there is but one such process-and the Christ of God can tell you what that is.But, apart from His atoning Sacrifice, there is no hope that the debt will ever be forgotten or forgiven.

And there is no protection for those who are in debt to the great Creditor. Protection is sometimes given to an insolventdebtor and, in the olden times, there used to be places of sanctuary to which men fled and so were free from liability tobe arrested. Even now, men flee across the seas to avoid arrest. They cross the narrow channel that parts us from the Continentand there they are secure. But there is no such way of escape for those who are in debt to God! If you are one of His debtorsthrough sin, there is no protection for you unless you flee to Christ! There is no distance of space or lapse of time, norepentance or tears that can blot out your transgressions. There they stand, indelible! Neither can you escape from the righteoushand of God in the day when He shall visit you for them.

This makes our indebtedness to God assume a very terrible shape-and if we have not been delivered from it by Christ, whatcan we do? No composition can be taken in part payment of our enormous debt. Even if it could be, we could not offer it-andthere is no friend who can give to God a ransom for us, or stand in our place. No, let me correct myself. There is one Friend-andnever let us forget Him-One who became Surety for His people and who was made to smart for it in that day when He paid theirdebts, to the uttermost farthing, by laying down His life for them. But, dear Friends, if there is anyone among us here whois still in debt to God on the matter of obedience, and who cannot present to Him the righteousness of Christ on His own behalfand who, in the matter of penalty, cannot bring to God the substi-tutionary Sacrifice of Christ, and plead that it was offeredfor him, his case is a very sad and wretched one, indeed. The

Lord deliver all such in His great mercy! I have been speaking figuratively, but there is truth at the back of it all. Itis no figure, no emblem, no fancy, but a dread and terrible reality, that all sinners are in debt to God.

II. Now comes the second thought which will have much soul-searching power about it if God the Holy Spirit blesses


five hundred pence, and the other fifty."

We have all sinned, so we are all debtors to God. But we have not all sinned to the same degree, therefore we are not alldebtors to the same extent. There are some sins that are greater than other sins and, both in this world and in the next,punishments are to be measured out proportionately. There are some to whom it will be more tolerable in the Day of Judgmentthan it will be to others. Our Lord said even to Pontius Pilate, "He that delivered Me unto you has the greater sin." So,clearly, one sin is greater than another. Every sin is great enough to ruin a soul forever, but there are some sins that havea peculiar crimson about them, a special venom and heinousness of offense against the Majesty of God. What constitutes, then,the five hundred pence debtor? Who are the people that are greater sinners than others?

I answer, first, that there are some who have greater capacity than others. There are some men and women who have but verylittle intellectual power. Their minds are narrow, their power of thought is limited-they cannot, under any circumstances,commit the transgressions which are easy enough to men of great, though imperious, masterly minds, with much inventive powerand strong passions. Judge you as to your own condition in this respect. Some of you may know that you are very differentlyconstituted from some of your neighbors. You may even have been tempted, in a moment of pride, to look upon them as very commonplacesort of folk-and you are quite aware, without any pride, that you are a person of far greater ability than they are. Verywell, then it is possible for you to be a far greater sinner than they can be! You can throw more force and energy, more devilryinto your life than they can. I have no doubt that there are many people who slip through life with little mind, little mentalforce and with comparatively little sin. They know but little, and think but little, and their condemnation will be littlecompared with that of greater sinners.

Some are great sinners because they are placed in positions of great trust. He who has but one talent can only sin with regardto that one talent. But he who has 10 talents, is 10 times as unrighteous in the sight of his Master. A man who is but a houseservant, or a day laborer, may be unfaithful to his worldly master and, so far he will be wrong. But think of the positionof a minister of the Gospel, the man to whom the souls of men are committed. If he is unfaithful to his Master, what terribleconsequences are involved! And, as his reward is higher than the wages of the man that tills the soil, so shall his punishmentbe greater. Mark the difference of the sacrifice for a priest compared with the offering for a woman's purification. She mightcome with a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, but not so the sons of Aaron! Their office was higher and, if they sinned,their iniquity was, in consequence, all the greater-and there must be presented, in the type, a costlier sacrifice in recognitionof the greater guilt in their case. You fathers and mothers can sin more than your children can. Masters, you can sin morethan your servants can. Men of wealth, you can sin against every pound you have if you use it wrongfully. Men who occupy highplaces, your sin may be like that of David, who greatly disgraced the name of God before men. Because of your exalted position,you can do so much more mischief and your sin, therefore, is reckoned at a proportionately higher rate.

Sin, too, becomes greater in proportion to a man's light and knowledge. A young man, blessed with godly parents, brought upfrom his childhood in the midst of prayer and holiness, can sin much more than poor children taken out of the back slums andwho, from their very babyhood, have heard words of blasphemy and seen deeds of filthiness. Oh, when some of us, whose privilegeit was to hear the name of Jesus mingled with the first hush of our lullaby-when we sinned against God, there was an intensityof blackness about our sin that could not be found in the poor heathen, or in such sinners in this land as are left in ignorance!The more you know-the more you understand of the mind and will of God-the greater is your transgression when you sin againstHim!

Sin, too, is very largely increased by tenderness of conscience. There are some persons who must know that this assertionis true if they have looked into their own hearts and lives, for they were very tender-spirited in their youth and, as theygrew up, they retained much of that tenderness. There are some coarse, rough, brutal men who could almost commit murder andnot feel it-but some of us can remember the horror which came upon us when, for the first time, we used or heard an ill word.You remember how the breach of the Sabbath cut you to the quick when it was only a small matter about which others thoughtnothing. You also remember how, when you found yourself out in having told a lie, per-

haps, unintentionally, you could not sleep, you felt so mean and miserable! Well, now, if you have forced yourself to sinin spite of such a check as this-if you have, as it were, gone over hedge and ditch in order to get to Hell-if you have throttledand strangled your better self with stern resolve that you would do evil-then you have sinned, indeed!

There are some such sinners, and there may be some such here, who have suffered through sin and yet have gone back to it.In the summer and autumn evenings it is one of the miseries of a man who sits writing to find how the poor gnats and the "daddylong legs" will fly to the lamp and get burned to death. You try to drive them away. You take the trouble to pick them upafter they have burnt themselves-but back they come-and their folly is a true and melancholy picture of the way in which somemen return to their vices, again and again, even after they have suffered greatly through indulgence in them! Even deliriumtremens will not suffice to save some men from continuing to be drunks-and the rottenness of their bones has not been sufficientto keep others back from the house of the strange woman. Oh, how horrible is this! And how it adds to the guilt of sin andputs upon it a certain degree of presumptuousness which provokes God beyond the ordinary transgressions of common sinners.

Does this truth come home to the conscience of anyone whom I am now addressing? Then I go back to my preface, and ask suchan one to say, with Simon the Pharisee, "Master, say on." There is always a great intensity about sin when it is practicedfor a long time. The sinner who is 60 years old is a greater sinner than a mere youth can well be. And the man who has spentthree-score years and ten without remembering his God-the man whose life lease has run out and yet who, all the while, hasspent his vigor in the service of Satan-has become one of the greatest of sinners-one of the five-hundred pence debtors!

Yes, there are degrees of sin! Sometimes a man recognizes that he has distinctly sinned against God in an especially personalway. David seemed to feel his sin thus when he said to the Lord, "Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evilin Your sight." Usually, unenlightened men think most of an offense against their fellow men. It is very curious that it shouldbe so, but so it is. If I were to charge any man here with the commission of a crime against his fellows, he would probablyknock me down if he could. But if I charged him with a sin against God, he would say, "Oh, yes, yes! We are all sinners,"and think that it was nothing to be a sinner because it was only against God! Thus men turn things upside down and an offenseagainst our fellow man is reckoned to be a greater evil than an offense against the Judge of all the earth! But it is notso. It is that sinning distinctly against God that has the most evil about it and, therefore, it is that there is but onesin that is unpardonable-and that is a willful sin against the Holy Spirit, one Person of the blessed Trinity. It is becauseit is so especially and so designedly against Him that no repentance ever comes to the man who has committed it, for he hassinned the sin which is unto death and he remains in his death-state, so that he never repents of the iniquity and finds noforgiveness for it. Beware, I pray you, of sins distinctly against God, especially such sins as that of blasphemy, of murmuringagainst God, of infidelity, of a denial of His existence, of Socinianism, which is a robbing of Christ of His Deity and soof His highest Glory! For those sins which are most distinctly against God stand first in the dread catalog of iniquity. Rememberhow the Prophet Samuel said to Saul, "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry."Witchcraft was thought to be one of the worst of sins-and rebellion against God is put side by side with it.

And, last, I do believe that the greatest sin of all-that which, like a giant, rises head and shoulders above the rest- isthe sin of unbelief, or rejection of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. If any man here shall say, "I am no drunkard. I amno whoremonger." Well, Sir, suppose you are not-but are you an unbeliever in Christ? Then you shall have the same portionas they have, for, when God says, "I will give My only-begotten Son to die to save sinners," and yet men say, "We will nothave Your Son as our Savior, but we will reject Him. 'This is the heir; come, let us kill Him, that the inheritance may beours'"-when God takes out of His own bosom the darling of His heart, the very Glory of Heaven, and sends Him here in humanflesh and blood to bear shame, suffering and death for guilty men-and they say that they will not believe on Him, then thisis the sin that turns the key of Heaven against them and dooms them to eternal destruction!

Remember the solemn words of our Lord Jesus, Himself-"He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believesnot shall be damned." Listen again to these familiar words-"He that believes not is condemned already." Why is he condemnedalready? He is living, he is laughing, he is sporting, he is merry-making-yet he is condemned already, "because he has notbelieved in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." That is the sin which, above all others, drops the black wax upon hisdeath warrant and sets the seal of Divine Wrath there so that he must die!

O my dear Hearers, our text says that one of the debtors owed 500 pence and, surely, that is the man who has heard the Gospeland yet has refused it! It is you who have been coming to this place, or to other houses of prayer, and who have been warned,invited and entreated for months and years-I know not how long-to believe in Jesus. If such is the case with any of you, putyourself down, not as a 50-pence debtor, but as a 500-pence debtor! No, I think I must liken you to him who owed his masterten thousand talents. How can you ever repay it? There is no hope of your ever repaying it. You can have it all frankly andfreely forgiven! If you go to Christ and plead perfect poverty, you shall then be set free at once through faith in His dearname! But if not, you must be delivered over to the keeper of the terrible prison of which I spoke to you, and you can nevercome out of it! God grant that it may not be so with any of you, for His dear Son's sake! Amen.


Verses 13-27. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the powerof the Holy Spirit And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with allknowledge, able also to admonish one another Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort,as putting you in mind, because of the Grace that is given to me of God. That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ tothe Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified bythe Holy Spirit I have therefore reason to glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. For I will notdare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not worked by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, throughmighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I havefully preached the Gospel of Christ Yes, I have strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should buildupon another man's foundation: but as it is written, To whom He was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have notheard shall understand. For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. But now having no more place inthese parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; whenever I take my journey into Spain, I will cometo you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way there by you, if first I be somewhat filled withyour company. But no w I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it has pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia tomake a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It has pleased them verily; and their debtors theyare. For these Achaeans and Macedonians had received the Gospel from the saints in Jerusalem. The Gentiles had been made partakersof their spiritual things, so it was their duty to minister to the poor Christian Jews in carnal things.

27, 28. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them incarnal things. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit That is, "when I have delivered themoney, and obtained a receipt in full for it; when I have discharged my duty in this matter."

28, 29. I will come by you into Spain. And I am sure that when I come unto you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessingof the Gospel of Christ He was sure of that, but he did not know how he would go in other respects. He did not know that hewould go to Rome as a prisoner. He could not foresee that he would be sent there as an ambassador in bonds; and little, Ithink, did he care in what manner he would go, so long as he had the absolute certainty that he should go "in the fullnessof the blessing of the Gospel of Christ."

30, 31. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, thatyou strive togetherwith me in your prayers to God for me; that Imay be delivered from them in Judea that do not believe; and that my servicewhich I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints. For there were some saints in Jerusalem who were very narrow-mindedand who hardly thought it right to accept anything from Gentiles. They had not got clear of their Jewish bonds and Paul wasa little afraid lest what he was taking to them might not be acceptable, so he asked the Romans to pray about that matter.Is there anything about which Believers may not pray? If there are, then we have no right to have anything to do with it!Bring everything before God in prayer, for all right things may lawfully be prayed about. So Paul asked the Christians inRome to pray about that matter of his journey to Jerusalem and also to pray for his return.

32, 33. That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. Now the God of peace be withyou all Amen.