A Four-Eyed Vision
THOUGH he surely did not wear glasses, Paul had a
four-eyed vision in Romans 1:13-16. He sees himself in four
relationships: "I purposed"; "I am debtor"; "I am ready"; and "I am
not ashamed." The four "I's" teach us four lessons.
Paul purposed to come to Rome. Why? Not because all roads led to Rome.
Not because of the great culture, or because the Coliseum and Caesar
were there, but "that I might have some fruit among you also, even as
among other Gentiles" (v. 13). As Paul spoke of preaching "the gospel
to you that are at Rome also" (v. 15), this gospel being "the power of
God unto salvation" (v. 16), the context indicated he wanted to win
souls to Christ there as well as among other Gentiles. This holy aim
or ambition should be in the heart of every Christian.
Christians are admonished to "set your affection on things above, not
on things on the earth" (Col. 3:2). Instead of wanting material things
or pleasures, our cry should be, "I want some fruit among my family,
my neighbors, at work, in school, in every place I go." Matthew Henry
had the right desire as he said, "I would think it greater happiness
to win one soul for Christ than to gain mountains of gold or silver
The face of the map of Asia was spotted as by measles with the souls
Paul won and the churches he established because of this great desire.
Where is such a desire today7 In one great denomination last year more
than six thousand churches did not win one soul to Christ! Over fifty
thousand evangelical churches reported winning less than ten souls to
Christ. Every Christian ought to be able in one year to pray at least
one person into a faith relationship to God. If Christians were
genuinely challenged with such a desire and trained toward this end,
it could easily happen. In his little book, The Passion /or Souls,
Edwin Hallenbeck wrote, "Oh, the possibilities of this holy passion!
It will sweep away selfishness and swallow up indifference and push
aside strife. It will lift our service out of the commonplace. It-will
cause the lifeless machinery in the church to move with power." God
grant us to catch this part of Paul's four-eyed vision.