Rom.1:8 – First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the world.
The testimony of Jesus in your life will effect your world. It is not just a new belief system we have taken on or a new code of conduct, Christ Himself has entered into our lives. This powerful transformation not only changes us, it drastically effects the world we live in. In this passage Paul is speaking to the Christians who lived in Rome, just think about that for a moment. The Roman Empire was the most powerful and feared empire in human history, it was also possibly the most immoral civilization in world history. Prostitution, mass immorality, and homosexuality were common and the expected behavior of society. In the midst of the debauchery a holy community of Christians emerged. Their lives of holiness and joy was the talk of Rome and had begun to impact that region. Paul’s comments acknowledged the powerful effect their testimony was having on Rome. Here is how Barnes describes this verse.
“Faith is put here for the whole of religion, and means the same as your piety. Faith is one of the principal things of religion; one of its first requirements; and hence it signifies religion itself. The readiness with which the Romans had embraced the gospel, the firmness with which they adhered to it, was so remarkable, that it was known and celebrated everywhere. The same thing is affirmed of them in Rom. 16:19. “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men.” Is spoken of. Is celebrated, or known. They were in the capital of the Roman empire; in a city remarkable for its wickedness; and in a city whose influence extended everywhere. It was natural, therefore, that their remarkable conversion to God should be celebrated everywhere. The religious or irreligious influence of a great city will be felt far and wide; and this is one reason why the apostles preached the gospel so much in such places.”
This is why our testimony is so critical. At the end of the day our message is empty and powerless without the Spirit of holiness working in our lives. It is the confirming testimony of radically changed lives that has a powerful effect on our culture. Just as the Christians in Rome impacted their city, our city is being effected by the way you live your life. Like Paul said, “your faith is being proclaimed throughout the world”.