Romans 1:14-15, “14 I am [i]under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”
Debt is a common word in the American household today. The majority of American’s live in some type of debt whether it be from a mortgage, credit card, vehicle, medical bills and possibly so many other avenues of credit. I remember one of my first debts that I had to repay as a teenage boy. I was 17 years old and had my drivers license, but no car. My dad helped me as we looked around for a good deal on an older vehicle for me to purchase. Finally, one day my dad came across the vehicle that would end up being my first pickup truck. It was a 1984 Ford Ranger, baby blue with navy pin stripes down the side. We purchased the truck for $1,600.00. Well, actually my dad purchased it and I had to pay him back. I had been working for quite a while, but didn’t have the whole amount saved up yet. My dad and mom were gracious enough to go ahead and buy the vehicle and let me pay them back so much a month. I remember that the debt of that truck along with insurance, gas and maintenance changed the way I looked at my paycheck each week. Making $7.35 / hour ( which was a lot for a high school kid at that time ) didn’t last too long after my bills were paid each week. It was a good lesson about debt and responsibility – even though the creditor ( mom & dad ) were very lenient with me.
Paul, in Romans 1 points out a very real responsibility that he had because of being in debt. He found himself under debt to God for the great payment that Jesus had made for him. Since Jesus went to Calvary’s cross and paid the price for Paul’s sin and brought forgiveness and eternal life to him, he felt a debt towards God and towards God’s creation – people. In other words, Paul wanted to live a life of thankfulness to God for what God had done for him. The obligation ( debt ) he is speaking of is to be used by God to spread the good news of the Gospel message to lost people.
Paul knew what it was to be a lost person who had no relationship with God. God in His mercy and grace met Paul on the road to Damascus and changed his life. Now, Paul knew what he had been missing his whole life. Paul knew how bad he was in all of his sin, and that Christ had saved him from all of that. Paul was so thankful that he had the attitude of wanting to please God with his life now. He knew God had called him and set him apart to spread the Gospel. He was now under obligation!
Paul shared in verse 14 that this obligation was to everyone. He said it was to the Greeks and to the Barbarians. He further explained this by saying his obligation was to the wise, and to the unwise. In other words, Paul, a simple man would speak in such was that the uneducated could understand and come to know Christ through his speech and explanation. This was for the “barbarians” or the “unwise”. However, Paul the simple man, could speak in such a way that even the “Greeks” or “wise” educated individuals would entertain his messages. He was all things to all people for the sake of sharing the good news of the Gospel. It was all because he understood the debt he could never repay for the sacrifice Jesus had made for him ( and everyone ) on Calvary’s cross.
So, a few last things to think about are these. First, I am not my own. I belong to Jesus. Therefore, I am in debt to Him for His great sacrifice for me. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s.”. 1 Corinthians 6:20. Second, Jesus paid that great sacrificial payment for everyone. No matter your social status, your race, your ethnicity, how good, or how bad you have been, Jesus died for you! “both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.” Romans 1:14. Also “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. Third, it was a joy for Paul to carry out his work. “So for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” Romans 1:15. This was not something that Paul dreaded doing each day as he woke up. It was not something that became routine and stale. It was something that was exciting, challenging and powerful in his life each and every new day.
Have you become a follower of Christ? If so, do you live a life of gratitude towards Christ for what He has done for you?