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b) Paul’s longstanding desire to visit Rome
(ROMANS 1:8-15)
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 some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.11For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established -12that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Paul heard much about the church of Rome, met some of its members during his missionary journeys, and found that their faith was true, living, and mature. He thanked God heartily for this miracle, for each living Christian is a miracle of the reconciliation in Christ, whose essence requires our thanking. Wherever a group serves God and the Son in the Holy Spirit, there we must worship the Father, and praise him and rejoice in him day and night.
Paul called God “my God”, as if he were his own. He knew that his soul was bound to him by a new covenant, and he loved him sincerely. But in spite of this warm relationship, he did not pray to the exalted God in his own name, but only in the name of Christ, knowing that all our invocations, and even our thanks, do not deserve to be presented to the glory of God. All pouring out of our hearts need the purifying power of the blood of Jesus Christ. Only through this purification, can we pray to God, who gives us his Spirit that we may sanctify his fatherly name and worship him joyfully. All his servants are holy to him, and they belong to him as bondservants of his love.
The content of their service is the Gospel. We notice that Paul, in the first verse of this epistle, mentions the gospel as “the gospel of God”, whereas in verse 9 we read “the gospel of His Son”. By this term he means that the divine good news of salvation depends on the essence of the Son of God. All Paul’s ambition turns around the sonship of Christ and the fatherhood of God. Whoever denies this gospel actively, and refuses it intentionally is cursed.
Paul lived in close fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He called the unity of the Holy Trinity to testify that he had always thought of the church of Rome, and prayed for her. The apostle of the nations did not forget the churches in spite of his several engagements, and also prayed faithfully for individuals. There is no faithful shepherd, or priest endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, except through persevering prayer. Where there is power coming out of someone, the reason must be love, prayer, and longing for God and men.
Paul had cherished his purpose to visit Rome for years, particularly in the period which he calls “now”, i.e. at the time of his service in Anatolia, Macedonia, and Greece. He saw that it was time to wear the Italian boot.
However, he did not decide to take his journey according to his own wishes and plans. He took constant care to conform himself to the will of God, taking into consideration the fact that one’s own planning, without conformity, leads to failure, misery, and trouble. Paul was not a prisoner of his own desires and wishes, but he arranged everything completely under the guidance of his heavenly Father.
This submission, however, did not stop his earnest desire to visit the church in Rome, where he had never been. He was aware that he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He was like a volcano throwing the power of God in all directions; and therefore, he wished to make the Roman church a partner in the authority given to him by Christ, that the church might become revived, prepared for service, and established in love, faith, and true hope. This is the one design of the ministry and the chief goal of the Acts of the Apostles: that the believers may be established and strengthened.
Paul did not want to enter Rome as the great donor, but he humbled himself greatly, and wrote that he did not come only to give, but also to take through hearing and seeing. He did this in order to experience what God directly did without him to the believers of the capital that he might be comforted together with all the apostles through the testimony of the divine Comforter in the saints of Rome.
Paul also testified, beforehand, that he did not come with a new faith, but that the same belief, knowledge, and power work in all the true Christians, who are members of the spiritual body of Christ. Everyone who claims that there is more than one church is a liar, because the Holy Spirit is one, Christ is one, and the Father is one. Wherever faithful believers meet, they meet together as children to one Father, even if they did not know each other before. They rejoice greatly, and meet in one accord, as born of the same Spirit, belonging to the same family, and united in the same principles and interests.

We worship you, O Father, because you gather your church throughout the whole world, and you establish it, and fill it with your characteristics. Teach us to pray for our brothers everywhere. Thank you for all your faithful children, for each one born of your Holy Spirit is a miracle. Open our eyes that we may love and understand each other, and rejoice in your presence. Give us wisdom and forgiveness that our fellowship may abound and be kept in your truth, and that we may not move away from our fellowship with you, with the Son and with the Holy Spirit.
Why did Paul thank God at all times?