From Jerusalem to Illyricum
14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient- 19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, 21 but as it is written:
” To whom He was not announced, they shall see;
And those who have not heard shall understand. (Isaiah 52:15)”
Paul expresses his faith that many of the the Roman believers are truly saved by the grace of God and who are mature in their faith have the qualities that he mentions. He then defends his approach by preaching more boldly on certain issues: doctrine of original sin, that everyone (both Jews and Gentiles) is guilty before God if they do not have salvation in Jesus Christ, how to walk in the Christian life, and how we are to encourage and help those who are “baby Christians” – even giving them some more grace than we would an unconverted person as God works through their life experiences to shape them into people that He will use. Paul makes it clear that his ultimate goal through this letter and his ministry is that he would, if God authors it, bring salvation to the Gentiles and instruct them in the history of the Jewish people to give them a full understanding of the Christian message. By doing so, the Gentiles may place their full trust in the word of God and in the actions of Jesus Christ, and the offering of these Gentiles may be acceptable to God. His commitment is such that he would not speak on things that have been accomplished by his own hand but only on those things which God has done through him as only those things have any merit at all. His mission and ministry is dedicated to those who have never known about the Jews or their God – reaching those who have no hope of salvation if they don’t hear the word from traveling ministers. God has opened the door of salvation through Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross – by His mercy and grace alone to all the world.
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15)