Paying Our Debts To All Men
"I am a debtor both to Greeks and to
barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to
preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also." (Rom. 1:14,15)
Paul considered himself to be under obligation. He said, "I am a debtor." This doesn't imply he didn't care about the lost or love souls. Later in the Roman letter he expresses his personal concern and pain over the lost (see Rom. 10:1ff). But Paul lived according to a deep sense of obligation, and that is expressed here in this language, "I am a debtor." As an apostle of Christ, as a Christian, and a caring human being, he considered himself under obligation to preach the gospel. There was this necessity laid upon him to preach the gospel. It should be no different with each one of us. The same underlying attitude of obligation should characterize every child of God. Not just full-time preachers, but each one of us should live out this debt to preach the gospel.
Paul was fully committed to this work to his full capacity. He said, "as much as is in me." To the limits of his ability and according to every opportunity afforded him, he intended to preach the gospel. Likewise, we should pay our debt to the full extent of our ability. This means each one must use the Word of God and prayer to assess himself and determine, what can I do? and then get up everyday and work toward the payment of the debt in full, "as much as is in me."
Paul was ready to preach the gospel. You cannot wait until the world is ready! You cannot wait until someone brings up the subject, or asked to be baptized. You certainly cannot wait until after your friend or neighbor has died. We should be ready now to preach the gospel. "Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season," (1 Tim. 4:2).
Paul's efforts were not limited by class. He said, "both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise." In Roman society there were these classifications: "Greeks" and "Barbarians." Also there some considered "wise" and others "unwise." Paul considered himself obligated to all! In our society there are also a variety of classifications according to income, education, race, age and worldly standards. In preaching the gospel we ought to ignore all of this, and consider ourselves obligated to preach to everybody the unsearchable riches of Christ.
"I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Rom. 1:14-17).
By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 6.7; July 1999