“I am under obligation both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”
What a statement. Paul says, “I am under obligation to Greeks, to Barbarians, to the wise, to the foolish. I am obligated to share the gospel. I owe the gospel to all these types of people. That’s why I’m eager to preach the gospel to those of you who are in Rome.” The Greek and the Barbarian, the Barbarian here would refer to those outside of Greek culture, so he’s basically saying “To everybody around me,” and specifically, Paul’s talking about his desire to make the gospel known among the Gentiles. But not just the Gentiles because right after this in Romans, chapter one, verse 16, he says, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel. It’s the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes to the Jew and also to the Greek.”
We have been given a glorious privilege to proclaim the good news of Jesus to a lost and dying world around us. God, please use us today to serve our joyful obligation to proclaim Christ and Him crucified.
Paul wants everybody to know the gospel, and he sees himself as owing the gospel to them. So he’s in debt like, “I have a debt to pay. I owe you the gospel. I am under obligation.” Now, obviously, he’s not sharing the gospel with people because he feels like he has to. He wants to. It’s the greatest news in the world. But he realizes he has a responsibility to, that he has been entrusted with good news to make it known.
Think about it this way. If you had the cure to cancer, you had the cure to cancer do you feel like you would have an obligation to share that to others? I think so. And I don’t think you would think, “Oh, do I have to? Do I have to share the cure to cancer with people all around the world?” No, you’d be like, “I want to share this. I want to make this known to everybody so that everybody who has cancer can be healed of it.” Of course, you would.
Well, how much more with the cure to an eternal cancer, the eternal cancer of sin? A cure to cancer on this earth will only save someone’s life for a little bit longer. They’ll still die. You and I have that which will bring them eternal life, life forever for the next 10 trillion years. They’re just getting started. We have something far, far better than a cure to cancer. So are we under obligation to make it known? Yes, we are, and not in a sense that we have to. Do we have to make the greatest news in the world known? No. We get to. We want to.
So, God, we pray that you’d help us to live under obligation today. God help us to look at the people around us who don’t know Christ today and to see ourselves in debt to them with an obligation owing something to them. And not in the sense that we have to, but in the sense that we want to make the greatest news in the world known to them. God, please use us today to pay down our debt, to serve out our obligation, our joyful obligation to make the greatest news known in the world to people around us.
God, we pray that you would use us to share the gospel with somebody today, and to see ourselves in their debt, and to proclaim to them with compassion and with boldness and with clarity the news that can save them for all of eternity. And then God, we pray that you’d help us to see our obligation not just to the people right around us but our obligation as your children to people far from us. I think about the Gwama people in Sudan, a million of them Muslims, no followers of Jesus among them, not a single follower of Jesus among the Gwama people in Sudan. God help us to realize that we owe the gospel to them.
Help us to realize this as followers of Jesus in His churches, forgive us for the ways we have turned a blind eye and deaf ear to those who have never heard the gospel as if they’re not our concern. God, make them our concern. We owe the gospel to the Gwama people. Please, oh God raise up men and women from churches here and around the world who will take the gospel to the Gwama in Sudan, to pay down our debt and to carry out the joyful obligation of proclaiming the gospel to them. God help us. Help us to see ourselves the way Paul describes himself as under obligation and so eager to preach the gospel to those around us and to those who have never heard far from us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
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