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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 8

Verse 8. First. In the first place, not in point of importance, but before speaking of other things, or before proceeding to the main design of the epistle.

I thank my God. The God whom I worship and serve. The expression of thanks to God for his mercy to them was fitted to conciliate their feelings, and to prepare them for the truths which he was about to communicate to them. It showed the deep interest which he had in their welfare; and the happiness it would give him to do them good. It is proper to give thanks to God for his mercies to others as well as ourselves. We are members of one great family, and we should make it a subject of thanksgiving that he confers any blessings, and especially the blessings of salvation, on any mortals.

Through Jesus Christ. The duty of presenting our thanks to God, through Christ, is often enjoined in the New Testament, Eph 5:20; Heb 13:15; comp. Joh 14:14. Christ is the Mediator between God and men; or the medium by which we are to present our prayers, and also our thanksgivings. We are not to approach God directly, but through a mediator at all times, depending on him to present our cause before the mercy-seat; to plead for us there; and to offer the desires of our souls to God. It is no less proper to present thanks in his name, or through him, than it is prayer, he has made the way to God accessible to us, whether it be by prayer or praise; and it is owing to his mercy and grace that any of our services are acceptable to God.

For you all. On account of you all, i.e., of the entire Roman church. This is one evidence that that church then was remarkably pure. How few churches have there been of whom a similar commendation could be expressed.

That your faith. Faith is put here for the whole of religion, and means the same as your piety. Faith is one of the principal things of religion; one of its first requirements; and hence it signifies religion itself. The readiness with which the Romans had embraced the gospel, the firmness with which they adhered to it, was so remarkable, that it was known and celebrated everywhere. The same thing is affirmed of them in Ro 16:19. "For your obedience is come abroad unto all men."

Is spoken of. Is celebrated, or known. They were in the capital of the Roman empire; in a city remarkable for its wickedness; and in a city whose influence extended everywhere. It was natural, therefore, that their remarkable conversion to God should be celebrated everywhere. The religious or irreligious influence of a great city will be felt far and wide; and this is one reason why the apostles preached the gospel so much in such places.

Throughout the whole world. As we say, everywhere; or throughout the Roman empire. The term world is often thus limited in the Scriptures; and here it denotes those parts of the Roman empire where the Christian church was established. All the churches would hear of the work of God in the capital, and would rejoice in it. Comp. Col 1:6,23; Joh 12:19.

It is not improper to commend Christians, and to remind them of their influence; and especially to call to their mind the great power which they may have on other churches and people. Nor is it improper that great displays of Divine mercy should be celebrated everywhere, and excite in the churches praise to God.

{l} "your faith" Ro 16:19

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