"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world."
Throughout his epistles the apostle Paul writes of his thankfulness to God. Whenever he sees or learns of Christians bearing fruit he remembers to whom belongs the praise. In his letter to the Romans, Paul commends them for their faith which was "being proclaimed throughout the whole world". Imagine what it must have been like to be a Christian in Rome during the time Paul lived; to live in a pagan culture like that. The Roman historian Tacitus writes that into the city of Rome “flow all things that are vile and abominable, and where they are encouraged”. The Christians in Rome were surrounded by gross immorality, yet they themselves lived in such purity that their faith was evident to all those around them, and the positive word about those Christians was spreading far and wide. "The glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different from the world she invariably attracts it." (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones). This is the kind of "absolutely different" we Christians need to be: the kind that attracts people to Christ through their purity.