Romans 15:14-33

I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”

This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Observation

  • Paul was convinced that the Roman Christians were full or goodness.
  • Paul was convinced that the Roman Christians were filled with knowledge.
  • Paul was convinced that the Roman Christians were able to instruct each other.
  • Even though the Roman Christians were knowledgeable, Paul has stated some things very boldly in his letter.
  • The reason Paul has stated some things strongly to remind his readers of those things.
  • God called Paul to be a minister of Christ to the Gentiles.
  • God was gracious to Paul in calling him to be a minister to the Gentiles
  • Paul served in a priestly service of the gospel of God.
  • Paul’s ministry was offered the Gentiles to God as an offering.
  • Paul’s service would be accepted because the Gentiles are sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
  • Paul had reason to be proud of his work for God.
  • Paul would only talk about what Christ had accomplished through Paul to bring Gentiles to the obedience to God.
  • Paul brought Gentile’s to obedience to God through words and deeds, powerful signs and wonders.
  • Paul’s words, deeds, powerful signs and wonders were the result of the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Paul had preached the gospel from Jerusalem to Illyricum.
  • Paul had fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of the Christ.
  • Paul wanted to preach the gospel where it had not yet been preached.
  • Paul did not want to build on someone else’s work.
  • Paul had been hindered in coming to Rome.
  • The reason Paul had been hindered in coming to Rome was because he was preaching Gospel in other places.
  • Paul’s work in the regions he was working was complete.
  • Christ was now known in the regions Paul had been working.
  • Paul now could see the Romans on his way to Spain.
  • The Romans would be able to help Paul on his journey to Spain.
  • Paul was on his way to Jerusalem when he wrote the letter.
  • It appears this letter was written near the end of Paul’s third missionary journey.
  • Paul was on his way to Jerusalem with an offering from the Macedonians and Achaians.
  • The offering was to be aid for the poor saints in Jerusalem.
  • The Macedonians and Achaians were pleased to give the offering to the poor.
  • The Macedonians and Achaians owed the offering to the saints in Jerusalem.
  • If Gentiles received a spiritual blessing then they ought to serve in material blessings.
  • Paul will leave for Spain right after he delivers the offering to Jerusalem.
  • Paul asked the Roman Christians to pray for him to be delivered for the unbelievers in Judea.
  • Paul asked the Roman Christians to pray that his service would be acceptable to the saints in Jerusalem.
  • Paul wanted to come to the Romans with joy.
  • If Paul’s service was acceptable to the saints in Jerusalem he would be joyful.
  • Paul knows his visit in Rome would refresh him.
  • Paul prayed that God’s peace be on all the Roman Christians.

Interpretation

This letter is unlike most of the letters Paul wrote to the early church. When Paul wrote to a church or group it was normally to address a specific problem or question. In this passage Paul indicates the purpose of this letter is not to address a problem or correct an error but rather to remind them of what they already knew. He has spoken very strongly at certain points in the letter in order to emphasize the point he was making. Paul appears to have confidence in the maturity of the church at Rome.

Paul talks about his office as a minister of the Christ. His job was to perform priestly duties. A priest offers sacrifices or offerings to God for the people. The offering Paul was making to God is the Gentiles. And it for the Gentile. It is the Holy Spirit that sanctifies the Gentiles and makes them an acceptable offering. Though Paul had suffered physically and emotionally for fulfilling his office he was proud of the work the Holy Spirit had done through him. But even so Paul will not talk about anything except what Christ has accomplished through him. Paul continues to give the praise and glory to Christ because the accomplishments were truly Christ’s accomplishments not Paul’s.

Paul mentions briefly the miracles the Holy Spirit performed through him and their role. The miracles were a sign of the truth Paul preached. Miracles in scripture were performed to confirm either the message or the messenger or both. But here Paul gives the benefit of miracles. Miracles are designed to prepare people to obey God. They are not used simply to show the power of God. They are not used as a spectacle to draw a crowd. They are used to draw men to obedience.

Paul had fulfilled a mission given to him from Jerusalem to Illyricum. Now he is preparing to start his a new mission in Spain. Paul’s call or mission was to preach the gospel where it had never been preached before. Paul demonstrates here that not even an apostle has all gifts and abilities. Paul plants and someone else comes behind him and tends the young tender plants. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6) The role of the apostle is not the same as the role of the pastor, the pastor waters. Note, neither the pastor nor the evangelist actually cause anything to happen. Gods causes the growth in the church.

Paul lets the Church at Rome know he will not be coming right away. He is delivering an offering from Macedonia and Achaia to Jerusalem. What is great way to tie together this book. Paul has given the theology of the Gospel. Then he gave how that theology is applied and now he gives an example of the application. Macedonia and Achaia, even thought they were many miles away from Jerusalem, when hearing of the plight of the Christian brothers in Jerusalem, they took up and offering and had Paul deliver it for the welfare of those in Jerusalem. Then He says he will give the Romans the opportunity to participate in his preaching the gospel.

Application

Since this letter is not written to address a problem or correct an error, this book is a general theological discussion. As such it should be noted that this highly theological book contains both instruction in right thinking and believing as well as right doing. We glorify God, by loving others. In this letter Paul shows us what love looks like. The letter to the Romans contains all the doctrines of Christianity but it also contains the behaviors of a Christian.

The offering Paul was making to God is the Gentiles. We bring to Christ ourselves as an offering. Christ is not offered to us. We are presented to Christ as an offering to Him. “All that the Father gives will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37) Paul knows nothing about the concept of inviting Christ into your heart. We do not invite Christ, Christ invites us. Christ is not offered to you. You are offered to Him. The good news is if you are offered to Christ He will not reject you. Hallelujah!

The summary of Paul’s letter to the Romans appears in the verse 27b, “For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.” We have received great spiritual blessings and material blessings from God. We then owe a debt to those who have shared the gospel and their blessing with us. Don’t worry about not being good enough or even know the right thing to do. It is the Holy Spirit that sanctifies us and makes us an acceptable offering.

 

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