As we continue in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he introduces his purposes for them. From the way he writes, it sounds as if they had not received a visit from any of the apostles at this point. Paul wants to remedy this since he’s called to be an apostle to the Gentiles.
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
He tells them that he has an intense desire to see them. It’s not just for a social visit. He wants to impart to them some grace gifts.
We miss this sometimes in our present church experience. We sometimes get the idea that it’s every man (or woman) for themselves. We lose out on the passing of spiritual gifts from one generation to the next.
What gifts are being talked about here? I believe that Paul is referring to the gifts that he speaks about later in this letter. I won’t go into detail with them now, but here’s the list.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
In chapter one, Paul says that he wants to impart grace gifts to them. In chapter 12, he says that these gifts come as grace is given to us. That’s why I believe these gifts are the ones he’s talking about.
What we have to realize is that these are the gifts of sharing. We’re all given the grace of God, but the Lord doesn’t expect us to keep it to ourselves.
These gifts explain how each of us shares this grace with others. We all have a unique personality and temperament. We all share God’s grace differently. Notice that only one of these gifts involves giving money.
But for now you’ll have to be patient. I won’t talk about these in detail until I get to chapter 12.
Paul goes on, in the verse from chapter 1, to tell them the main reason for his visit. He wants to see them established in their faith through mutual encouragement.
That was a big part of Paul’s ministry as an apostle. Look at how the apostle closes this letter.
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past…
This is what the letter to the Roman church is all about. It was inspired by the Holy Spirit to establish us in the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The term, mutual encouragement, literally means to be coached together. As we learn the principles set forth in this epistle, we can put our faith together and grow into the mature believers we need to be.
That’s my goal with this series of posts. To show the journey of faith as Paul lays it out for us.
Question: How do you see yourself sharing God’s grace with others?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi