Summary: This is an on-going expository study of the Book of Romans, verse by verse
Book of Romans Study
Lesson # 3
By Rev. James May
Romans 1:13 – 22
In continuing to express his desire to go to Rome to be a blessing to the saints of God in that city, Paul begins now to explain why he hasn’t been there before and why this is the appointed time for him to go. Paul was ever led by the Holy Ghost and made it a lifelong challenge to do only what he was directed to do. Paul understood that without the leading of the Holy Ghost and the anointing of God, his preaching would accomplish little and there would be few churches established.
Let that be a lesson to all of us that we need the presence of the Holy Ghost with us at all times. Without his power and his presence we are destined to fail, but when God is with us, we cannot be defeated.
Romans 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
Paul had never met the saints at Rome yet he considered them brothers in Christ. No matter where someone may be from, what ethnic or national background they have, the color of their skin, or any other factors that people use to create barriers and division, when a man or woman is born again by the power of the Holy Spirit, then we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord, and all members equal in the eyes of the Lord, and all heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. With our Heavenly Father, there are no distinctions. We are all equal and all His own children.
Paul’s expression of calling them brothers also shows that he has the Love of God for them, for God loves all men, everywhere. Paul addressed both the converted Jews who were his brothers by blood and birth in the flesh, as well as the Gentiles who were his brothers by the blood of Jesus and the new birth of the Spirit. Whether Jew or Gentile, we are all brothers in the Lord when we are born again.
This is the first lesson that Paul has for the church, and the very foundation of the Christian Constitution; that all men are made equal through the blood of Jesus Christ, and all have equal Grace and Mercy from God our Father, and we all have the unlimited and unconditional Love of God directed to our hearts. In God, there is absolute equality and full citizenship. No one is preferred above another, whether you are a great Apostle, Evangelist, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher or a member of the church without a title. We are all equal in God’s kingdom. The only difference in our relationship with God will be in what our reward will be in Heaven due to our faithfulness and obedience to his calling; not on anything else.
Paul doesn’t want the Roman saints to be ignorant, unknowing and uninformed of their rights and privileges as fellow servants in Christ. He is no better than them. They are no less than he. Their only difference is in the calling of God upon their lives and the place that God has appointed them to occupy in his kingdom and church government.
Paul continues to say that he had wanted to travel to Rome many times before but had been “let” by the Holy Ghost. That word “let” appears a number of times in the Bible, including the time in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 where it says that, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
“Let” = kōluō (ko-loo'-o), which means, to prevent - forbid, hinder, keep from, let, not suffer, withstand.
In the passage of 2 Thessalonians it is the prayers of the church, in conjunction with the working of the Holy Spirit to set the timing and limit the power of civil governments in working toward the appearance of the Antichrist. When the church is taken away, and the Holy Spirit lifts all restrictions, then, and only then, can the Antichrist rise to power, at God’s appointed time.
In this letter to the Romans, Paul is restrained, hindered, prevented and kept from visiting the saints at Rome by the will of God. In God’s time, and in God’s way, Paul would go, but not until then. God had other works for Paul to do first; other places to preach; other churches to establish and needs to be met in the lives of other church leaders.
Under the direction and anointing of the Holy Ghost, Paul would eventually be given the freedom to travel to Rome and preach there, but God knows the hearts of all men and it he alone who governs his kingdom.