Having offered this excellent benediction to the Roman believers, Paul proceeds to utter his thankfulness for their widely known faith.  It should not escape observation that he thanks God “through Jesus Christ.”  This is the common way in which believers are taught to pray.  Christ taught us to address “our Father which is in heaven,” and shortly before His death He directed His disciples to ask in His name.  Therefore, though it is not improper upon certain occasions to address Christ directly, as Stephen did upon his martyrdom, and as Paul did in I Timothy 1:12 while recollecting with awe his calling to the ministry, our common course of praying should be to address God the Father through the merits of our great Intercessor Jesus Christ.  Nor is the Holy Spirit to be left out of the process of prayer, for it is only by His influence and gracious assistance that we can pray properly.  Thus Jude directed us to pray “in the Holy Ghost.”

Paul’s object of thankfulness at this time was the faith of the Roman believers.  He himself had not as yet visited Rome, and it is a question as to who carried the Gospel message there and first started the Roman church.  We need not solve that question, but it is evident that by this time, probably around A.D. 60, the entire Christian community in all places had heard glowing reports of the great faith of the believers in Rome.  Paul uses the vast term “whole world” here, a term which our Arminian brethren commonly like to insist must without question refer to every single person living on the planet.  Clearly, this is a case which explodes their theory, for nothing can be more evident than that people living in China or the jungles of Africa were completely uninformed as the faith of the Roman believers.  Here, as in other places where this phrase is used, the context must govern our explanation of the term.  The context here certainly would convince us that the “whole world” refers to the Christian world, or the churches in all places where the Gospel had been preached.

 

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