Romans 15:8-13

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”

And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”

And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Observation

  • Christ became a servant to the circumcised.
  • Christ became a servant to the Jews.
  • Christ became a servant to the Jews to show God’s truthfulness.
  • Christ became a servant to the Jews in order to confirm the promises God gave to the patriarchs.
  • Christ became a servant to the Jews so the Gentiles would glorify God for His mercy.
  • God is merciful.
  • The Gentiles are to praise God.
  • The Gentiles are to rejoice with the God’s people.
  • Christ will rule over the Gentiles.
  • The Gentiles have hope in Christ.
  • Paul asked that God fill the Roman Christians with joy and peace in believing.
  • God is a God of hope.
  • Paul prayed the Holy Spirit fill the Roman Christians with hope.

Interpretation

Christ sent Paul to the Gentiles so that the promises He made to the Jewish patriarchs would be fulfilled. Israel was chosen to be a priestly nation. A priest represents the people before God. And through the Jews, Christ came to represent all people, Jews and Gentiles before God. Now there is no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles except that Christ came first to the Jews. Paul has already said God has not rejected the Jews but reminds the Gentiles that we should have no pride over the Jews since God came to the Jew first and came as a servant to the Jews. The more He humbled Himself the more He honored the Jews. God did come, also, to the Gentiles, however. God did not need to save or choose anyone. But, He has shown His mercy by choosing some. We then glorify God for His mercy.

Paul’s was a missionary to the Gentiles so that we might understand our sinfulness and God’s mercy. Only after we understand our sinfulness can we understand the greatness of God’s mercy. After we understand His greatness the only thing to rightly do is praise Him.

Paul uses logic and reason to reach his theological conclusion that the Gospel was meant for both Jews and Gentiles. But it is never safe to rely on reason alone. We must check our conclusions by going to the scripture. Paul verifies his conclusion by checking the scripture. He goes to both the Psalms and Isaiah. They both verify Paul’s conclusion. The Gentile will rejoice with the Jews. The root of Jesse, the Christ, will rule the Gentiles. In the Christ the Gentiles will have hope. Jesus is the Christ.

Paul concludes this section with a prayer. Paul asks that God will grant whatever He has commanded. We have been told to live at peace with all men. We have been told to bear the burdens of those weak than ourselves. We have been told not to pass judgment on others. We have been told to not cause anyone to stumble. And the biggie, we are to love one another. The fulfillment of all of the law is loving as Christ loved.

Paul prayed that God grant what He commanded because we cannot love as Christ loves unless God grants that love to us. We do not have the power to love in such a manner unless Christ loves through us. We cannot choose to love by our own free will.

Paul adds that God is the God of hope because God has promised to sanctify us and love through us. While we cannot fulfill God’s commandments on our own, God Himself fulfills them in us.

Application

We must check our conclusions by going to the scripture. If the scripture contradicts our conclusion then we have made an error in logic and we must be willing to change our conclusions. It is like checking the back of the math book when you were in school. The answer in the back of the book will tell you the correct answer. If you got a different answer, you made at least one error in logic.

By checking scripture I do not mean proof texting. The whole of scripture must fit the logic. All of scripture supports the rest of scripture. This is why so many reject the idea of a holy God. How many times have you heard or maybe said yourself, “I can’t believe in a God that would…” That is the wrong answer. You are not the measure. It does not matter if the scriptures make you uncomfortable. You do not determine truth. God determines truth. And God reveals truth through the scripture.

The bible started making sense as a whole when I stopped asking, “What does it mean,” and started asking, “What does it say.” We must be willing to submit ourselves to scripture and not bend or twist scripture to say what we think it should say. Looking for meaning rather than accepting the plain statements of the text allow us to turn scripture in to a waxed nose and make is mean whatever we want.

There was a prayer that Augustine prayed that upset another bishop, Pelagius. The prayer was “God command whatever you will. And grant whatever you command.” Pelagius claimed that we had the power to do whatever God commanded. If we did not God would be immoral in commanding us to do something we could not do. But Paul concludes this passage with the same pray as Augustine.

Pelagius claimed that we could do good and live a sinless life if we chose to do so. We had the free will to do so. We could choose to obey the will of God or not. Pelagius was condemned as a heretic by the Council of Carthage and semi-pelaginism, which is modern day Armenianism, at the Council of Orange both for the same reason. Both Pelaginism and Semi-Pleaginsim denied the sinfulness of man.

God does not rely on the weakness of our free will in order to work His sovereignty over us and the world. God does not command what we ought to do and then leave it to our frailty to carry out His will. God must grant us the grace to carry out His will. Pray that God grants whatever He commands.

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