Paul was looking forward to seeing his future new friends in Rome. He told them so and that he always kept them in prayer. He also said something tremendously interesting:
Romans 1:8 – First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
How is their faith so different or strong or big that people a long way away thought, “Wow, that’s some special faith”?
I think it ties into the reality that faith is more than just believing something. Faith is a belief that impacts our actions. We believe that God said such and such, and therefore we’re going to do X. This is borne out in the following verse:
Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
We believe that God exists, that His character is desirable, that He will do what He says, and that His promises are sure. Then we act on them.
Noah’s faith built an ark, Abraham’s faith went on a journey, Moses’ faith left a commanding position in the most powerful nation in the world at that time.
What did those in Rome do? At a time when there was persecution against both Jew and Christian in the civilized world, those in Rome were faithful to their calling in the very capitol. In the heart of darkness they were living for truth and their light burned brightly. They were not ashamed.
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Do you want a faith the world knows of? Believe in God, live in harmony with His word, and don’t be ashamed of either of the first two things.