Day 300 – Thru the Bible
Today we reach Day 300 and complete Romans. Wow!
Romans 15 – This chapter begins with continuing the theme of Romans 14 Gospel faith produces maximal regard for the good of others, not a relentless drive toward self-satisfaction through self-justification. Jesus forwent His own rights and dignity so that salvation might come to others, in keeping with Old Testament prophecy. These same Scriptures, the Bible upon which Jesus relied, are a primary source for a Believer’s perseverance, direction, and resilience. The Old Testament, Paul says, was written, ultimately, so that “we might have hope.” The whole Bible is a message of hope, not of demand. This section concludes with a glorious vision of the nature, activity, and agenda that can characterize every church (verses 5–7).
Verses 8-13 serve two purposes. They repeat that Jesus gave Himself for the sake of others, even for “the circumcised”—His own people, who for the most part had rejected Him (John 1:11). This shows Believers how they are empowered to treat one another (verse 7) even when they hold deep-seated and opposing personal opinions. These differences may be especially acute in the Roman church, where Jews and Gentiles of different ethnicities, backgrounds, and habits are gathering together for worship. Thus, these verses also give a fourfold Scriptural proof of God’s desire to bring Gentiles into the kingdom in order to fulfill His promises to the Jewish patriarchs. This epochal truth and fulfillment of prophecy is the ground for Paul’s encouraging the Roman Believers toward mutual love: the multiethnic gathering of worshipers was always God’s plan, and His past faithfulness to His plan and promises brings the hope of greater victories for the gospel in the future. God’s mission to the Gentiles in His Son will also be a main theme of the next section.
Paul’s expectations are high (verse 14) because he knows these Believers have received the gospel. But they need to be encouraged, because they play a part in Paul’s spread of “the gospel of God.” That gospel’s work through Paul, “in Christ Jesus,” has accomplished a great deal, as it continues to do today, as Gentiles pour into the kingdom by “the Spirit of God” in fulfillment of the apostolic “ministry of the gospel of Christ.” God has been true to His age-old gospel promises, as He will be to the end of the age (verses 20–21; Matthew 28:20). To abandon His promises would be to “de-God” Himself; He cannot do it.
Verses 22-29 help prepare for Paul’s eventual, hoped-for arrival in Rome. They also demonstrate aspects of the gospel’s work in Paul’s own life. He longs for the Romans, whom he has never seen. He has continuing missionary zeal and desire to unite with the Romans in spreading the good news. He shows the compassion for his Jewish kinsmen also expressed in chapters 9–11, as he speaks of the “contribution” which has been ongoing for years to alleviate suffering among Jewish Believers in Judea (1 Corinthians 16:1–3). He shows optimism that God will overcome all barriers to the gospel going forth.
In gospel service, prayer is a primary key to fulfillment of God’s call (Ephesians 6:18–19). So is a frank acceptance of likely impediments and dangers, along with the courage to trust God despite them, borne up by a lively sense of God’s goodness and power to bestow refreshment and peace whatever may come.
How do you allow God’s love to flow through you, even to those who hold deep-seated and opposing personal opinions to your’s?
Romans 16 – This chapter starts showing how the spreading of the Gospel can prosper. First, there is prayer and love on the part of a leader, in this case Paul. His recollection of so many names and details is best explained by his sustained and systematic prayer for them.
Second, there is mutual trust and shared ministry. Phoebe has supported Paul and others; now she is carrying this letter to Rome. Like many others mentioned in this section, the gospel has gone forth in part due to her commitment and involvement.
Third, many have worked hard for the sake of the gospel. Some have risked their lives (Prisca and Aquila).
Fourth and in sum, the gospel most frequently goes forth not by individual effort alone but through the shared labor and sacrifice of many, representing both genders, many backgrounds, different social classes, and varying locations. This section is, then, a wonderful illustration of the doctrine of the church expressed in Romans 12:5.
There will always be opposition to Jesus’ followers and their mission. This typically takes the form of divisive behavior and skewed doctrine (verse 17). People use the church and Jesus’ name for their own ends (verse 18). The gospel calls for innocence but diligence to avoid being taken in (verse 19). God will vindicate His interests and bring down His enemies in the end, including their leader, Satan. God will crush Satan under the feet of Believers—fulfilling the ancient prophecy all the way back in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15).
Paul gives the names of his inner circle as he composes this letter during a layover in Corinth (see Acts 20:2–3). Paul has a unique grace given to him (Romans 1:5; 12:3; 15:15), but effective Christian leadership is no place for hard-core loners. Paul led decisively but in interaction with others who built alongside him on the foundation he laid (Romans 15:20).
Gospel assurance lies in God’s upholding strength through the preaching of Jesus and truths divinely revealed. These truths, enshrined in Scripture, are for all nations, as God has commanded, to establish and enhance a worldwide and eternal communion. By the gospel Paul ministers and which this epistle explains, God in His matchless wisdom is forever glorified through His Son. This closing doxology recalls almost all the main themes of the letter to the Romans, funneling it all down into praise and worship of God. This is where Romans brings us.
How do you work with others as a team to spread the Good News?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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