8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware,brothers and sisters,[d] that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[e] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[f]
That last part is my favorite – righteousness by faith. I have zero chance at righteousness by works – I flunked that one a loooong time ago.
Although, through modern ears, I can’t help but wonder what the Romans thought of verses 14 and 15. Hey guys, I’m eager to preach to you ’cause you’re fools – which is of course not what Paul meant and the Romans obviously knew it. But I always have to stop and remember that!
Then again, it sounds a lot like he’s talking to me. Pretty sure I’m in the foolish category a great deal of the time. Good thing God’s love does not depend on human performance – none of us would win that one, me least of all. But that’s where Paul is going with this. God, in His great mercy and love, made a way for even us backwards, do it wrong every time, foible prone humans to have the righteousness we can never attain ourselves and without which, we have no hope of approaching Him.