I LONG TO SEE YOU
“For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;” Romans 1:11
One of Paul’s stated goals was to see Rome. In Acts 19:21, he said, “I must also see Rome.” In our text, he said, “I long to see you.” It was not the glorious city with its grand structures that the man of God longed to see. It was the saints in Rome that he had his heart set on; he wanted to know them first-hand and witness the work of God in their lives.
He commended them earlier by saying, “your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). His interest in seeing them, however, was not simply that he might be encouraged by them. He wanted to be a source of blessing for their spiritual lives, “that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift.” It is doubtful that the apostle is speaking of some extraordinary or miraculous gift, but rather he spoke of light, knowledge, inspiration, growth, or assurance that would come through his teaching and preaching. He wanted to share with them what he had received from God. Bible teaching and preaching are gifts to those who receive it. The effect of his ministry would be that they might “be established.”
God’s children, especially those newer to the faith, need strengthening and establishing. Although we are secure in our Savior and our position in Him, we can be unstable in our thinking or in our hearts. Believers need to be established in their duties and responsibilities. We need to be established in the doctrines of the Word of God. We need Christians who are strong in their faith. Paul longed to see them that he might contribute to their spiritual progress.
The unsaved do not understand this kind of brotherly concern and love. They do not comprehend wanting to travel a great distance or make personal sacrifices in order for others to benefit. However, this is the motive of Christian service. The Christian servant wants to help others grow in grace. The true man of God who has the heart of a pastor is not satisfied with receiving a salary or occupying a position; his goal is to proclaim and apply the Word of God in such a way that spiritual growth takes place. We want to see people, that we might help them in their journey of faith. Our goal as Bible teachers, and those involved in making disciples, is to see God’s people established and strong in the things of God.